Pard Orton's Place
Pard Orton's Roadhouse
1924 – This map shows the Orton’s old roadhouse during its reincarnation as the “Gem Hotel.” For many years the City Limit Line ran along 7th N. Street and Orton’s place was really “just outside the city limits.” It will be noticed here that the City Limit Line has moved about 2/3’s of a block further north but does not include the main Crouse-Hinds plant. In this map the northerly direction points left to right and downward is east. The pink rectangle just below (east) Pard Orton's old roadhouse is a brick building and its address was 206 7th N. Street. The yellow (wood frame) structure next to it was at 204 7th N. Street. This was where Pard Orton was living on October 10, 1907 at the time of his death.
Pard Orton was running a hotel in the Town of Onondaga in 1880. By 1884 he began running the roadhouse on the northeast corner of the intersection of the Cicero Plank Road and 7th North Street (sometimes called the Greenpoint Road). [1884-08-18] Pard, was Almon C., while his son was Almon B. In 1890 father, son and daughter-in-law Dora were charged with running a “disorderly house.” The case went to the jury and they were acquitted. [1890-07-23] According to the 1892 census, Pard had retired and his son had taken over the operation of the roadhouse.
In 1893 Pard Orton and his wife Mary faced off in a very nasty and very public attempt to obtain a divorce. Charges of adultery were claimed by Pard, who was the plaintiff in the divorce action. In her response Mary claimed that her husband and her son had treated her in an "unkind and inconsiderate" manner. She further felt that her son had been the instigator in the action so that he could prevent her from sharing in her husband's estate and that if the divorce were granted then her son would find a way to prevent his two sisters from inheriting any of their father's estate. [1893-03-27a], [1893-03-27b] Mary later ran a boarding house in the 400 block of East Adams Street in the city of Syracuse. The divorce was ultimately denied by the court [1893-08-09].
In May 1894 Almon B. Orton, the son, was the subject of three sealed indictments handed down by the Grand Jury. In describing the roadhouse the paper stated, “It has always been a favorite resort for a certain class of people.” One of the indictments charged that Orton had been running a disorderly house, another was for selling liquor without a license and the third for selling liquor on a Sunday. Orton pleaded not guilty and was released on a total bail of $800. The following month Orton changed his plea to guilty. [1894-05-28] This article refers to the son as "Pard," which was his father's name.
In early 1897 a prominent fighter of that time, Tommy Ryan, chose the Orton Roadhouse as his training headquarters for an upcoming fight. In late March, Almon Orton (the son) fell ill. He died at the roadhouse on April 7, 1897 of typhoid pneumonia. He was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery. At that point Pard came out of retirement and ran the roadhouse once again.
Pardon C. Orton died suddenly at his home at 204 7th N. St., on October 10, 1907, at the age of 72.
Pard Orton finally retired once more in 1899. In November 1899, James Hayes was leasing the roadhouse formerly operated by and still owned by Orton. Hayes had recently sold his lease at the Delevan House at 321 West Fayette Street in the city, where he had been the proprietor since at least October 1896. Hayes had been the proprietor at Orton's place from as early as September 7th of 1899. [1899-11-14] Although it appears that there were no incidents at the Orton roadhouse during the tenure of James Hayes, he had plenty of other problems that followed him.
Hayes Arrested as a Common Gambler
Jim Hayes was arrested on charges of being “a common gambler” and was held by Justice of the Peace Fuller of Phoenix for an appearance before the Oswego County Grand Jury. According to Charles Haggerty, of Oswego, Hayes was running a game in Brown’s Hotel at Three Rivers. Haggerty lost a few times and when he finally won, he claimed Hayes refused to pay him [1900-08-13].
Hayes had been arrested on a charge of gambling on August 11, 1900, at Three Rivers. He was found guilty and given a 60-day sentence and was allowed to postpone the time when he would turn himself in at the jail to begin serving his sentence until January 2nd [1901-01-06].
Hayes Arrested On Grand Larceny Charges
In May 1901 Hayes was arrested on grand larceny charges made by an Orville Dean who owned a hotel in West Phoenix, NY [1901-05-10].
Hayes Arrested On Gambling Charges Again
James Hayes was arrested by Deputy Sheriff “Con” Murphy of Fulton on Saturday, Sept 7th. He was charged with being a common gambler. The offense had been alleged to have occurred at the Farmers’ Picnic at Three Rivers the previous month, on August 4th. He pleaded not guilty before Police Justice Betts and was held on $300 bail for the Oswego County Grand Jury [1901-09-08].
The End of James Hayes
Just prior to his death in January 1902 Hayes was in the process of selling his lease at the old Orton place but at the last minute the deal fell through. At that same time he had an interest in a saloon in the 500 block of Pearl St., this was the same block as the then recently established (1897) Columbus Bakery. (The bakery is still in operation and run by the 3rd generation of the Retzos family.) Hayes' friends felt that this failed business deal contributed to his decision to commit suicide at the Globe Hotel on January 17, 1902 [1902-01-18].
In February 1904, Robert R. Flynn, of 1103 Wolf Street, purchased the Orton Hotel from Pard Orton [1904-02-29]. After he "redecorated and refitted the house, added electric lights and city water," he leased it to Arthur Cottet, the former bartender at the Parker House in Cicero, NY. On April 11, 1904 the old place opened once more under the new management of Cottet [1904-04-11].
On the evening of July 23, 1906, James Murphy and the Joy brothers, Alton and Edward, returned to the Orton Place after they had been kicked out earlier in the evening. This time they were armed with revolvers and knives and threatened to kill some of the patrons of Arthur Cottet’s roadhouse [1906-07-23a], [1906-07-23b], [1906-07-24].
Frank R. Laurer
Laurer had a very short tenure at Pard's roadhouse. It was marked by a single item in the local newspaper, where he was only mentioned in passing and wasn't the main interest in the article [1907-07-10]. One of Laurer's young bartenders, James E. Eagan, had died in the hospital from burns he had sustained from a gasoline explosion. Eagan was also employed at the Fellows Hotel in Onondaga Valley. While there Eagan visited a nearby ice cream stand and a gasoline tank exploded covering him with the fuel and igniting his clothing. He died in St. Joseph's Hospital about four days later.
C. J. Folz
C. J. Folz had such a low profile, there were only three tiny ads documenting his time at the Orton roadhouse. The quality of the ads was so bad that the exact spelling of his last name is uncertain. There was a Grand Raffle at Orton Hotel - C. J. Folz, proprietor [1907-11-28]. There was also an announcement of the "Grand Opening of Orton Hotel" on December 10th [1907-12-10]. And then he faded away.
The business at Orton's old roadhouse were being conducted by William Leahy, who was leasing the place from Robert R. Flynn. There was a barn that caught fire behind the roadhouse [1909-12-20a], [1909-12-20b].
Talbot and Loomis
Stephen Talbot and Charles Loomis leased Orton Hotel in May 1912. They formerly operated hotels in Fayetteville, NY [1912-05-24]. In April 1913, a Mrs. McGraw, at 1200 Wolf St., was advertising for a "GOOD STRONG WOMAN" for general housework [1913-04-19]. Her connection with Talbot and Loomis is unknown.
William Leahy Back Again
By April of 1914 William Leahy was once again the proprietor of the old roadhouse. Leahy's cousin (mistakenly identified in the paper as his niece), was asphyxiated while staying at his hotel when she fell asleep and the breeze from the open window blew out the gas flame in the light in her room. [1915-04-23]
On May 29, 1917, Mrs. Daisy Churco, owner of a roadhouse at 1200 Wolf St., was indicted for running a disorderly house. The ultimate disposition of Churco’s indictment is not known but by October 1918 the old hotel had been abandoned.
Police found Joe Boylan living in the “unoccupied hotel known as Pard Orton’s place,” while investigating complaints, in October 1918, that someone had been prowling around the chicken coops in the area. Boylan was found with some dead chickens that he claimed had been given to him by Frank Matty. After that story was labeled as untrue by Frank Matty himself, Boyan was taken into custody and charged with petit larceny [1918-10-29].
In May 1921, Mary Elderbloom, at 1200 Wolf St., was arraigned on charges of violating the state prohibition laws.
In July 1921 Mrs. Mary Elderbloom was running a rooming house and a private residence in the old “Pard Orton” Place. A group of police, while passing the location, thought they heard “sounds of a fight in the old Orton place” and stopped to investigate. They entered without a search warrant and found several persons drinking in the former barroom and a bottle of alcohol sitting on the bar. The officers also confiscated a bottle containing alcohol from the kitchen [1922-01-17]. In her July 30th affidavit Mrs. Elderbloom claimed that the kitchen bottle was for medicinal purposes, obtained from a drug store on prescription by a doctor – and she wanted it back. The trial set a couple precedents; one for the first female in the county to face a jury on an alcohol charge and secondly for the first appearance of prescription whiskey in a case. She was acquitted [1922-01-18].
Clarence Storms, proprietor of a café at 1200 Wolf St., was arraigned on charges of violating the Volstead Act [1923-07-13]. This was a real short stay, because Storms skipped town shortly thereafter. [Note – This is the same Clarence Storms, who figured in the events of June 1933 at The White Rock Inn, formerly The Maples, on old Liverpool Road.]
By the middle of 1925, there was a new proprietor at the old establishment at 1200 Wolf Street. George Kress, 29, was the new man in charge and either he didn’t last long enough to receive a visit from the dry agents or maybe he was just lucky. An example of his luck was demonstrated on June 27, 1925 when he took a dose of poison believing it to be medicine for his headache. It was thought that he would recover. Now it can debated whether or not that recovery would represent good luck. A truly lucky person wouldn’t have taken the poison in the first place [1925-06-28].
Kress didn’t last very long in the business and soon the old Orton place was being run as a hotel by Alex Galaska. In February 1926 Alex made the newspapers, not as the result of a visit by the dry agents, but as the result of a friendly wrestling match that resulted in a fractured leg for one of the participants [1926-02-02].
Galaska had named the Orton place after himself, the Hotel Alexander. By August of 1926 he had made it onto the dry agents’ radar screen, so to speak, since radar wasn’t actually available until after World War II. On Saturday afternoon, August 14th, the agents entered the place in search of alcohol, but Mrs. Galska was faster. She was able to dump the alcohol down the drain before the agents were able to find it. In retrospect, that was probably not the best strategy since finding nothing, the agents just searched that much harder. After two hours they finally found the “secret panel” that covered the compartment where the Galaska’s kept their stash of liquor. A few bottles of “legal stuff” left around might have satisfied the agents, eliminated the two hour search and avoided the need to tell their boss that they hadn’t found anything. [1926-08-15] In January of the following year they went before the judge on charges of possession and sale of illegal beverages. Alexander pleaded guilty and was fined $575 while charges against his wife were dropped [1927-01-08]. They were caught again in April 1927 and both were charged with violating the Volstead Act. Alexander was released on $2000 bail and his wife on $1000 bail [1927-05-12].
In the September 8, 1933 edition of the Syracuse Journal, Peter Pelc’s Traveler’s Inn, 1200 Wolf St., was one of the businesses listed that were in compliance with the NRA Code.
In the waning days of Prohibition, in fact less than a month before it ended on December 5, 1933, Peter Pelc got into trouble. It was not so much the liquor but the alcohol related death of a customer. This caused the police to search his establishment and in the process to discover a revolver that Pelc had found on the trolley tracks that ran behind the Traveler’s Inn [1933-11-12], [1933-11-13], [1933-12-30].
In 1934 the Traveler’s Inn was being operated by Peter and Karolina Pelc. In 1941 it was still sponsoring a bowling team in the PACC No. League.
The Last of The Pelcs
Peter K. Pelc, 78, died on September 2, 1973 at Crouse-Irving Memorial Hospital in Syracuse. He was survived by his wife, Carolina, three daughters and a son, plus grandchildren and great grandchildren [1973-09-03]. After Carolina Pelc died on July 10, 1974 there were no more Traveler’s Inn ads. Victoria Waltos, see below, was Mrs. Pelc’s daughter and it appears that she also ran the Traveler’s Inn for a while [1974-07-11].
"Victoria Mary Waltos, 81, of Syracuse, died Tuesday at Loretto. Born in Syracuse, she owned and operated the Travelers Inn Restaurant on Wolf Street She was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church and the Sacred Heart School Mothers Club. Her husband, Henry Waltos, died in 1955." [1998-06-11]
The End of the Traveler's Inn
The corner is empty now, but exactly when the Traveler's Inn closed for the last time couldn't be determined. In the late 1960s and early 1970s I can remember driving by the Traveler's Inn as the shifts were changing at Crouse-Hinds. The long line of workers made their way up 7th North Street hill and a good number of them would stop off at the Inn for a little refreshment.
By May 1991 there was a Traveler's Inn operating at Carrier Circle, but obviously that was not the same place as Pard Orton's old place.
2014 – A view of the northeast corner of Wolf St. and 7th N. St. This is 1200 Wolf St., where Pard Orton’s place and the Traveler’s Inn were once located.
[1884-08-18] The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, NY, Monday, August 18, 1884.
[1890-07-23] – “Acquitted By The Jury,” The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, July 23, 1890.
[1893-03-27a] - "She Scores A Point," The Daily Courier, Syracuse, NY, Monday, March 27, 1893.
[1893-03-27b] - "The Orton Divorce," The Syracuse Standard, Syracuse, NY, Monday, March 27, 1893
[1893-08-09] - "Not Divorced," The Syracuse Daily Journal, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, August 9, 1893.
[1894-05-28] – “On Sealed Indictments,” The Evening Herald, Syracuse, NY, Monday, May 28, 1894. In the article the son Almon B. Orton was incorrectly identified as "Pard" which was his father's name.
[1899-11-14] – “With The Jury. Is Adams Guilty of Robbing the Utica Floor Walker?” The Evening Telegram, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, November 14, 1899.
[1901-05-10] - " 'Jim' Hayes Arrested For Grand Larceny," The Evening Telegram, Syracuse, NY, Friday, May 10, 1901.
[1902-01-18] - "Jim Hayes Comes To Early End," The Post Standard, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, January 18, 1902.
[1904-02-29] - "Flynn Buys The Orton House," The Syracuse Evening Herald, Syracuse, NY, Monday, February 29, 1904.
[1904-04-11] - "Cicero Man to Run It," The Evening Telegram, Syracuse, NY, Monday, April 11, 1904.
[1906-07-23a] - "Toughs, Looking For Trouble, Invade Pard Orton's Hotel," The Post Standard, Syracuse, NY, Monday, July 23, 1906.
[1906-07-23b] - "Row At Orton Hotel," The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, NY, Monday, July 23, 1906.
[1906-07-24] - "News Of The Police," The Post Standard, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, July 24, 1906.
[1907-07-10] - "Death From Burns Parts Chums," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, July 10, 1907.
[1912-05-24] - Talbot and Loomis leased Orton Hotel - The Fayetteville Bulletin, Fayetteville, NY, Friday, May 24, 1912.
[1913-04-19] - Want Ad, The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, April 19, 1913.
[1915-04-23] - "Young Music Student Asphyxiated By Gas, Miss Florence Leahy Falls Asleep While Reading and Light Blows Out," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Friday, April 23, 1915.
[1918-10-29] – “Claims Frank Matty Donated Chickens,” The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, October 29, 1918.
[1922-01-17] – “Says Whiskey Seized Was On Prescription,” The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, January 17, 1922.
[1922-01-18] – “Medical Hootch Woman Is Freed,” The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Wednesday, January 18, 1922
[1925-06-28] – “Poisoned Hotel Man Improved,” The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, June 28, 1925.
[1926-02-02] – “Fractures Leg In Wrestling Match,” The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Tuesday, February 2, 1926.
[1926-08-15] – “Secret Panel Yields Booze,” The Syracuse American, Syracuse, NY, Sunday, August 15, 1926.
[1927-01-08] – “Fine Syracuse Man $600 On Rum Charge,” The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, January 8, 1927. There were two cases described in the article, the other one got the $600 fine.
[1927-05-12] – “Rasey Orders Couple Held,” The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, May 12, 1927.
[1933-11-12] - "Probe Woman's Mystery Death," The Syracuse American, Syracuse, NY, Sunday, November 12, 1933.
[1933-11-13] - "Inn Owner Is Held In Death Of Woman," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Monday, November 13, 1933.
[1933-12-30] - "Rum Cause Of Death Suit," The Syracuse Journal, Syracuse, NY, Saturday, December 30, 1933.
[1973-09-03] - "Rites Wednesday For Peter K. Pelc," The Post Standard, Syracuse, NY, Monday, September 3, 1974.
[1974-07-11] - "Mrs. Pelc Succombs at 80," The Post Standard, Syracuse, NY, Thursday, July 11, 1974.
[1998-06-11] - "Victoria M. Waltos," Syracuse Herald Journal, Syracuse New York, Thursday, June 11, 1998.