History of the Longhouse Council

Local councils (as we know them today) were not originally part of the fledgling BSA in 1910. The earliest records of Scouting in the City of Syracuse date back to a Scoutmasters’ Council formed in 1911 by a group of Troops under the leadership of Charles Trump, H. Fred (Daddy) Lee, Col. William Verbeck, and Scout Commissioner A. W. Hudson.

Syracuse applied for and received a charter from the National organization in 1915, becoming one of the first official councils in New York State. The Syracuse Council, as it was officially known at the time, was originally assigned number 390. The first official council offices were housed at 618 S. A. King Building, 220 E. Genesee St.

The Watertown area formed a Scout council in 1921, originally named simply Watertown Council. In 1925 and 1932, the council name was changed, ultimately settling on the Jefferson-Lewis Council #408. St. Lawrence County also formed a Scout council in the 1920s and was assigned council number 403. In 1939, the council name changed to St. Lawrence Council until its merger with the Jefferson-Lewis Council in 1982. The newly merged council became known as the Seaway Valley Council #403.

In 1922, the Syracuse Council changed its name to the Onondaga County Council and in 1929 gained Cortland County to form the Onondaga-Cortland Council. Cortland County petitioned the National Council to become their own service area, which granted them a charter as the Tioughnioga Council in 1940. The Syracuse area then returned to the Onondaga Council name.

Over the next 30 years, internal district structure of the Onondaga Council waxed and waned as population and economics drove population shifts in and around the City of Syracuse and its suburbs. October of 1969 brought the next merger: the Oswego County Council merged with the Onondaga Council to form the Hiawatha Council, adopting council number 373. At the time of the merger, the combined council had eight districts. Boundaries continued to adjust over the next few decades.

In 1999, the Hiawatha Council merged with the Seaway Valley Council, to become the Hiawatha-Seaway Council, retaining council number 373. Districts in the former Hiawatha Council remained unchanged; added were the Northern Lights District (St. Lawrence County) and the Tri-Rivers District (Lewis and Jefferson Counties).

In 2010, the Hiawatha-Seaway Council merged with the Cayuga County Council in Auburn. The merged council adopted the current Longhouse Council name and retained council number 373. Cayuga Council was added as its own district to the Longhouse Council and later merged with neighboring Interlakes District in 2019 to form the Towpath District. In both 2020 and 2021, the council approved the redistricting to its current configuration:

  • Towpath: Cayuga County, western Onondaga County, and southeastern Oswego County
  • Crossroads: Eastern Onondaga County and southwestern Oswego County
  • Seaway Trails: Northern Oswego County, and Lewis, St. Lawrence, and Jefferson Counties