Secrets of the Bagg’s Square Memorial Building And The Hidden Vault ~ The Haunts And Legends Of New York
Steeped in history and legends, New York is filled with stories of the forgotten, eerie and the weird that influence us everyday. What secrets are hidden in the memorial vault of Utica?
Lite 98.7's Eric Meier has teamed up with Folklorist P.W. Creighton to explore the haunts and legends of New York. Through their travels into the dark and often overlooked spaces they will bring these historic sites back to life and make some unexpected discoveries along the way.
In this episode Eric guides the explorers to the Historic Bagg Square district of Utica to explore the Proctor Memorial Building and it's mystery vault that now stand on the grounds of the former Bagg Hotel. Are there hidden bootlegger tunnels? Just what is the mystery building?
The Bagg's Hotel and park owned by the Proctor family were iconic landmarks of Utica where many famous historical figures had stayed over the years. Regional hotel owner Thomas R. Proctor married Maria Munson Williams in 1891 and along with her sister Rachel, served to help better the city of Utica.
During the Prohibition era Utica became known as 'Sin City' due to the vast quantities of alcohol and the Italian mob control of the city. It was during this time and after Thomas Proctor's death in 1920 the Bagg's Hotel began to decline and in the early 1930's Maria Proctor had the Bagg's Hotel demolished by hand so that more people could find work in Utica.
It was built like a fortress...
After the Bagg's Hotel was demolished Maria Proctor sought to preserve the history of the famed hotel and the memory of her late husband. Maria Proctor had a memorial building constructed in the footprint of the former hotel. The stone walls that now circle the park were once the foundation footprint of that hotel.
Maria Proctor had the memorial building constructed in such a fashion that the interior of the building is believed to be a replica of the room her and her husband would stay in at the Bagg's Hotel. The structure is built of solid stone and concrete walls 18-28 inches thick with windows made with reinforced glass and a full size vault/safe that was rumored to house records and memorabilia of the Bagg's Hotel.
In the peak of the roof above the front door a plaque was commissioned to honor Thomas R. Proctor.
An honorable and patriotic city from the earliest days.
Let us keep up its high standards.
Except the Lord keep the city,the watchman waketh but in vain. Psalm 127
IN MEMORIUM PATRUM
As soon as the construction was complete on the Bagg's Square Memorial Park and Proctor Memorial Building, Maria Proctor donated the land and building to the City Of Utica where it has remained in City's care ever since.
While the vault is no longer capable of being opened and various symbolism can be found throughout the architecture that allude to more hidden secrets, the Proctor Memorial Building stands as a testament to the strength of character both of Maria and the City.
The City of Utica is currently developing a renewal plan for the Bagg's Square corridor and the monument markers for Fort Schuyer are set to be moved to their own park on the footprint of the old fort in 2015.