Manlius, Onondaga County's first village, was an important center of trade, industry and politics on the state's first great east-west settlement route, now roughly Route 173. Manlius was granted powers of self-government by the state legislature in 1813 when Syracuse was a swamp on the edge of Onondaga Lake.
The village had the county's first newspaper, first pottery, first distillery and first gun factory--all the essentials for pioneer life. As the result of its powers to tax property owners, the village nurtured the county's first fire brigade and a rudimentary water suppy.
When the Erie Canal and later the railroads created other villages, Manlius remained a center of trade for the surrounding farmland. It maintained its economic base with foundries producing farm equipment, cotton, wool and paper mills along Limestone Creek.
The Manlius Academy, a private classical co-educational institution was founded in 1834. It evolved into a boys boarding school known as the Manlius Military School, which sent officers into two world wars. These graduates made the name of Manlius known throughout the world while the school staff provided a solid economic and social base for the village from 1910 to 1950. The school closed in 1974 and the 100 acre campus has been turned into homes.
Just outside the village, Suburban Park with its roller coaster, dodge 'em cars, dance hall and picnic pavilion drew crowds every summer from about 1900 until it closed in 1973.
After World War Two, Manlius became the fastest growing village in New York State. The village's public water supply was extended and developers provided a private sewage treatment system, which later became publicly operated.
In 1973, 46 buildings in the "old village" were entered on the National Register of Historic Places as Onondaga County's first Historic District. Most of the district was built between 1813 and 1825 when Manlius led the county's political and economic growth.
Today, the mailing address of "Manlius" extends far beyond the village boundaries into the Town of Pompey and the rural countryside.
Barbara S. Rivette, Manlius Village Historian