Baggs Square Historic Park & Historic Children's Museum Building

The Children’s Museum of History,
Natural History, Science & Technology
311 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501

P: 315-724-6129 


Bagg's Square Memorial Park (pictured above), is the home of Bagg's Tavern & Hotel, originally built as a small but comfortable tavern near the fort in 1794 by Moses Baggs, a blacksmith and tavern keeper who kept a thriving business there, to house the many settlers and military men traveling from the eastern to western ends of New York State. General George Washington and General Marquis de LaFayette stayed at the tavern, as well as Henry Clay and General Ulysses Grant. It also became a stagecoach stop for mail delivery. The park marks the site of the former Bagg's Hotel, a Utica landmark owned by the Proctor family and torn down during the great depression. This is where Utica began.

This is the birthplace of Utica. The building on the property originally was intended to house memorabilia from the hotel, but has remained vacant most of its lifetime. The park also houses several historical markers related to Old Fort Schuyler that were moved from their original locations when state Route 5S was constructed. In 1815, Moses Baggs’ tavern was torn down and replaced by a larger one made of brick. This newer stone building and park remain as a memorial to the important part Utica played as intermediary for travelers and ideals of revolution and reconstruction. Before there was Utica, there was Fort Schuyler, built in this area by the British in 1758. It was a critical spot for the new American settlers. Fort Schuyler was “a chain of forts built to protect the northern frontier from the French and their Indian allies, and to guard the great ford across the Mohawk Valley.” Fort Schuyler was named for Colonel Peter Schuyler, uncle of the famous Phillip Schuyler (who later became Alexander Hamilton’s father-in-law).

There’s a bit of confusion about the naming of the forts. During the American Revolution, Fort Stanwix in Rome (another British-built fort and was named for a British officer during the French and Indian War of the 1750s) was renamed Fort Schuyler, after Philip Schuyler. This Fort Schuyler here near Bagg’s Tavern was renamed “Old Fort Schuyler.” After the Revolutionary War, both Fort Stanwix/Fort Schuyler andOld Fort Schuyler were dismantled. When Fort Stanwix/Fort Schuyler was resurrected in the 1970s as a memorial, it was given it’s original name Fort Stanwix.

One of the oldest Children's Museum's in the country, John C. Hieber Building is a historic commercial building located at Utica in Oneida County, New York. It was built in 1893 and is a 5 story, rectangular flat roofed, red brick structure, 60 feet by 100 feet, with a random ashlar stone foundation. It was built as a combined sales @ warehouse facility. The building, owned by the Utica Children's Museum, was a work of Utica architect Frederick H. Gouge. In 2007, Executive Director Marlene Brown completed the paperwork to have our building listed on the National Register of Historic Places! The coordinates are: . 43°6'15?N75°13'29?W It is the only Children's Museum in the country to have been adopted by both NASA & the Dept. of Energy's Office of Science.

Located in historic Bagg's Square area at the corner of Main and Railroad Streets, the 5 story brick building was constructed in 1893 as the headquarters for the John C. Heiber Dry Goods Company. One of the best known wholesale dry goods houses in the central and northern New York, "it once drew visitors who came on train from as far away as Albany & Syracuse to shop for dry goods". The interesting Romanesque Revival exterior remains as imposing as ever, & the charm of the period remains inside with its original glass & wood paneled office, decoratively paneled central oak staircase, and 14 foot high ceiling sheathed in fancy pressed tin. For years, 2 abd 1/2 of the 5 floors, each floor approximately 6,000 square feet, were used for exhibit and program areas. By 2013, 4 of the 5 floors were open, conatining thousands of hands-on exhibits. Under Marlene Brown's leadership they continue to renovate the historic building while keeping its original historic look.

The Children's Museum historic building, left, and history wall on our 1st floor, above

The Children's Museum history wall on our 1st floor

Our "History of Utica Settlers" wall on the Children's Museum's 3rd floor with all sorts of neat historical facts and information on the founding of the City of Utica and the Mohawk Valley.

Exploring our interactive local History Diorama & Erie Canal exhibit

Interactive Erie Canal exhibit unveiled at Children's Museum, built & created by the GE Elfun's, gets setup at the museum - above, L to R. Ken Driscoll, Steve Butler, Bob Dicks, John Stephenson, Bill Sheerin

2009 The Children's Museum shines in all its glory

2007 The Children's Museum

Our sign facing North Utica seen from over the bridge!

Our sign facing downtown Utica!

New York state's Official Fossil, the Euryptirid -- shown here -- like all fossils in our large collection on the museum's 2nd floor, comes from Central NY. It was mined in Ilion by Lang's Fossils.

Wax model of a dinosaur, created by Lewis Brown

The Museum's only painting is "Fording the Mohawk River", 1933, by Utica Artist Egbert C. Clark.

Clark, a well known Utica Artist, was chosen in 1941 to supervise and lead the WPA Diorama Project, housed in Museum's collection.


Utica, NY in 1855 - in 38 years the Children's Museum building would be erected!

Real early photo: of Baggs Square, Children’s Museum, Utica Daily Press

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