The area known as Great Bear Springs is comprised
of 236 acres owned by the City of Fulton and the
78 acre Town of Volney Park.
Beginning in 1885 several companies derived water
from the Great Bear Springs for commercial
purposes: Fulton Water Works Company (1885);
Great Bear Spring Company (1888) bottled water
from the Great Bear Springs for distribution
throughout the Northeast; and the Pure Water
Supply Company (1890) distributed bottled water
primarily in Syracuse. Several ruins of former wells
and pump houses can be seen in the southeast
quadrant. Although the water now comes from
other sources, the Great Bear brand still exists
today, owned by Nestle.
The property also contains the historical
Hinsmanville Lock and tow path that were a part of
the original Oswego River Canal. The Hinsmanville
Lock was one of eighteen locks between the Erie
Canal in Syracuse and Lake Ontario and was in use
from 1828 until 1917 when the four foot deep canal
was refurbished and dredged to accommodate larger
engine-powered barges. The deeper canal reduced
the number of locks to nine and the Hinsmanville
Lock was abandoned.
The Great Bear property is located between Fulton and Phoenix New York
on Route 57. Parking and the entrance to Great Bear are at Route 57 and Great Bear Road.