In 1948, Paul Harvey was just two years old when his father, a student at the time at Syracuse University, took him to Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York. They’d make frequent visits to the cemetery, and Harvey continued the tradition when he was a student at SU. About seventy years later since his first visit, he still comes back almost every day.
His deep knowledge of Oakwood Cemetery and the surrounding area of Syracuse’s Eastside allowed him, SUNY-ESF, and the Ed Smith Elementary School PTO to re-establish old trails, and create new ones to form a network known as the Morningside Cultural Trails.
This network of trails consists of 10 trails that cover about 20 miles. The trails include, the Main Loop Trail (5 miles), Public Arts Pathway, Oakwood Tree Trail, Oakwood History Trail, Oakwood Ghost Trail, 5K Loop Trail, Meadowbrook Pond Trail, Nature Trail and “Monday Mile” Barry Park Route, and the latest addition, the Flat Trail. But Harvey said what makes these trails so unique is the rich culture behind it all.
“There’s a magic about these trails. I can tell you endless stories about that would make you realize just how magical this area is,” Harvey said. “So we’re telling the community that these trails are life’s hike. It’s going to take them out, and give them the chance to experience all these things that are important, and in a diverse way. There’s a Jewish influence here, there’s a black influence here, there’s Muslim, I’ve even found some Chinese graves. It’s just marvelous at all the different diversity that’s around. ”
Harvey said that the Morningside Cultural Trails were created through community interest and involvement and the trails would not be where it is today without their help
Some of these community groups include Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Westcott Community Center, Everson Museum, and ESF and SU students.
“The fact that we had a lot of different groups from a lot of different areas was real multiculturalism in what we’re doing here and that fact that we have different groups were people really find their realization of who they are,” Harvey said.
With the help from the community, The Morningside Cultural Trails will be releasing two new trails in the upcoming months.