As the heart of New York State, Onondaga County displays the beauty of the state in its rolling green hills, beautiful Oneida Lake – the largest lake in the state – Skaneateles Lake, and Otisco Lake. The Appalachian foothills provide beautiful waterfalls and forests, ski slopes, and quaint historic villages.
The county is named for the Onondagas, the People of the Hills. The Onondaga Reservation is located just south of Syracuse and contains about 7,300 acres independent of New York State. It is governed by a Council of Chiefs and many of the ceremonies and traditions are still observed.
The county seat, Syracuse, is a large, busy city with a major airport and a major research university – Syracuse University. Syracuse is a beautiful city and very family-friendly. The city was “discovered” by the French in 1615. In the 1700s, the British purchased rights to the lake and surrounding land from the Onondagas. Originally called Salt Point because of the salty swampland it once contained, the name changed several times until 1825, when the village of Syracuse finally came into being.
Syracuse contains many small businesses. Upstate Medical University and Syracuse University are top employers, with other companies including Lockheed Martin, Wegmans Food Markets, and Crouse Hospital.
Onondaga County wraps around its only city, Syracuse, with several small towns, villages, and hamlets. The towns include Clay, DeWitt, Cicero, Camillus, Lafayette, Fabius, Elbridge, Geddes, Manlius, Lysander, Pompey, Salina, Skaneateles, Tully and Van Buren.