Moravia Bank

Many people still refer to the building located at 142 Main Street, Moravia, as "the Moravia Bank" when in fact the building started out being used for something completely different and now is one of three banks located in the village, none of which have Moravia in their name.

North H.H.Allee Building about 1869
The current Elmira Savings Bank building is actually two buildings merged together.  The north building, shown to the right, was built by Hiram H. Alley in the late 1860's as a drug store.  In the early 1870's, Mr. Alley built the south half, moving his drug store there and renting the north building as a mercantile store. In 1885, Mr. Alley moved his drug store to the newly built Andrews building, where it continued to operate as a drug store under Alley and, later, three generations of the Hawley family for just about 100 years.

The First National Bank of Moravia was established on April 6, 1863 and operated for 30 years in a corner of the Moravia House hotel (located where the Kwik-Fill station is today).  It moved to the south H.H. Alley building in 1893.

About 1952. Bank is 2nd from right.
A competing institution, the Moravia National Bank, was chartered on March 6, 1877.  It was located in the building at 144 Main Street where New Creations Style Salon ("Gail's") is now located.  The two banks coexisted until 1912 when the institutions merged and operations continued in the South Alley building.

In the late 1950's, errant youths started a tradition of moving an outhouse to the sidewalk in front of the bank on Halloween eve. Quite often a sign would be left on the outhouse to the effect of "Night Deposits". The identities of the hoodlums have remained a mystery for many years, although photo evidence recently has been uncovered. Rumor has it that the crew shown here removing the outhouse had actually been the same perps who put it there the previous night. These shady characters are as yet unnamed but they look awfully familiar.
About 1956
 The bank building began to resemble its present form in the mid 1960's when the two Alley buildings were conjoined and the second and third stories were removed.
1975
More memorabilia and photos of the First National Bank of Moravia and Moravia National Bank will be on display at COLHS during July and August 2013.


Summer Hours

Summer Hours at the History House are in effect through August 31, 2013.  The History House is open every Monday from 9:00 AM to Noon (EDT) for research and every Saturday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM for tours. Special Research Days are also scheduled for the following Saturdays, also from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM: June 8, July 13 and September 14.

Need a COLHS Book?

Select books normally sold exclusively at our gift shop are also available at the Anthony Gallery Annex, operated by the Powers Library, as well as at the Cayuga County Historian's Office in Auburn, N.Y.

PROFILE: Lew Carr

Lewis Smith Carr (1872-1954) was one of the greatest Cayuga County athletes of all time. He excelled in football and baseball and was a long-time baseball coach at Syracuse University, but is best remembered in the Moravia area as the father of youth baseball.

A native of Union Springs, Lew was a star player in high school football and baseball, along with four equally talented brothers. He later played baseball for several town teams, including the legendary Moravia team that played on the Keeler Avenue diamond.

Moravian's team of 1899,
Amateur Champions of
Central New York. Lew Carr
is in the 2nd row from front,
2nd from the left.
While attending Hobart College, Lew captained and played shortstop for the Moravia baseball club during the 1898 and 1899 seasons. In 1899, the “Moravias” won the amateur championship of Central New York. That team’s crowning achievement was their victory by 3 to 0 over the Syracuse Stars of the New York State League. The Moravias played a total of 112 games and won 79 for a .700 average.

Lew played on Syracuse University’s football and baseball teams in 1900 while attending law school. After one year, he interrupted his law studies to join the Troy Trojans, a professional baseball team. Scouts for the Pittsburgh Pirates took immediate notice of his talent and recruited him to play shortstop alongside a third baseman by the name of Hans “Honus” Wagner.

Unfortunately, Lew’s career as a Pirate came to an abrupt end when a hard pitched ball hit and seriously injured him. (Despite initial complaints from many of the fans, Wagner took over Lew’s position and went on to become perhaps the greatest shortstop of all time.) Lew played with the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team from 1902-1906, then returned to Syracuse where he played with the Stars while completing his law degree.

Lew Carr in his
early semi-pro days
(Frontenac Historical
Society and Museum)
Syracuse University hired Lew as its baseball coach in 1910 where he remained for 35 seasons. In his honor, SU renamed its baseball stadium Lew Carr Field in 1952. He was later inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame. After the university terminated its baseball program in 1972, part of Lew Carr Field became Coyne Stadium, the home of SU Lacrosse. Lew Carr married Jessie Brown of Moravia in 1912. After his retirement from SU in 1945, Lew and Jessie moved to a home at 25 Church Street, Moravia.

A young boy approached Lew one day, asking if he would teach some of the kids how to play baseball. Lew agreed to help and shortly afterwards “Carr’s Cubs” was organized. Besides teaching the boys the game, Lew helped them raise funds to buy equipment and helped build an organization that earned the support of many businesses and residents. In 1954, the Moravia team formally joined the Little League program.

Carr's Cubs, 1946
Coach Carr was named as Moravia’s Little League commissioner and was active up until his death on June 15, 1954, at age 81, only a few weeks into the baseball season. The Moravia Little League team won 15 of 18 games that first year, earning the Championship of Southern Cayuga County. Many of the players from the 1954 team continued the winning tradition with the town’s first Babe Ruth League team in 1955 and enjoyed later success as high school players.

Update 7/19/2013 - Article about Lew Carr Field in the Syracuse Post-Standard by Sean Kirst.