L. Frank Baum, famous throughout the world as the creator of The Wizard of Oz, was born in the small upstate town of Chittenango in 1856 and lived both there and in nearby Syracuse. Baum’s birthplace no longer exists, but the home at 678 Onondaga Street was the home of Baum’s sister and is where he met his wife.
The town of Chittenango, New
York, has a unique claim to fame. The city is the birthplace of famed author L.
Frank Baum, who is most well-known for The Wizard of Oz. Baum’s parents
eventually moved the family to a larger house in nearby Syracuse, and Baum
later lived in California. But the author began his life and met his future wife
in Syracuse, and the house where they met is now the property of a group who
hopes to turn it into a Baum museum.
The most direct tie to Baum is
the home at Onondaga Street, which was the residence of Harriet Baum Neal, the
author’s sister, and her husband. It was at this home that Baum met his wife,
Maud. After sitting empty for a number of years, the house, in a state of
advanced decline, was sold in 2015 to an Oz-related group with plans to restore
the home for use as a Wizard of Oz museum.
And in nearby Chittenango, where
Baum was born, there are references to the beloved author. Banners on lampposts
announce that the town is Baum’s birthplace. Signs here and there denote “Oz
Crossings.” The sidewalks along both sides of the main street are lined with a
strip of yellow bricks. Each year in
late May or early June, Chittenango hosts the Oz-stravaganza, a festival
celebrating all things Oz. For a number of years, the surviving actors who
played the munchkins as well as descendants of other actors attended the