Auxiliary Services owns and operates the Fallbrook Recreation Center located at 103 Thompson Rd., Oswego, approximately 1.5 miles south of the campus. The Fallbrook facilities consist of a Ski Lodge and Barn that are available for use by reservation, and approximately 136 acres of scenic grounds and trails.
If you go down Thompson Road about two miles away from the college, you'll come to a beautiful clearing in the woods with a big house, a lovely old barn and a babbling brook off to the side near the bottom of a big hill. Depending on what time of year you go, you might catch some bird-watchers, hikers, kids sledding, an outside barbecue or even a grand wedding. This beautiful retreat is a recreational facility serving SUNY Oswego and has fondly come to be known as Fallbrook.
In recent years, a network of trails has been constructed throughout Fallbrook's 188 acres for hiking, mountain biking and cross-country skiing. Two of these trails connect with the trail system at neighboring Rice Creek Field Station. Trail maps are available in the lobby of the ski lodge. The Fallbrook grounds officially close at dusk.
Fallbrook is a designated wildlife safety area; hunting, camping, fishing, trapping, motorized vehicles and guns are not permitted. However, hiking, photography, nature stud, and simple relaxation are encouraged!
The City of Oswego originally purchased the land and the Charity Commission of the city erected the large brick City Almshouse, a house endowed for the poor to reside. The meadows to the north and south were farmed for crops and the red out buildings served as support structures for the residents who worked daily on the farm. A dam was built on Rice Creek and a four acre pond was created to power a mill. At the time, Thompson Road had not been constructed and was just a buggy path for the 1.5 miles from what would later be known as State Route 104. In 1895, the Almshouse was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and rededicated in 1898 and would remain a poorhouse until 1957. The president of SUNY Oswego from 1952-1963, Dr. Foster Brown, purchased the farm and renamed it Fallbrook. The buildings were then all remodeled and from 1961-1968 Fallbrook Hall was a men's dormitory. The residents were cooked two meals a day by a woman employed by the college. A shuttle bus transported the men the two mile route to the main campus. In 1968, the west campus dorms were built and Fallbrook Hall was closed.
No longer functioning as a dorm or a barn, Fallbrook became host to the college's equestrian program. The large metal pole barn was an enclosed riding arena with one dozen stalls. The aged remains of several horse jumps are still visible in the north meadow. For several years there was a motorized tow rope on the hillside providing students with a convenient lift for skiing and sledding in the snowy Oswego winters. However, use of the tow rope was suspended in 1979 and the horses departed in 1980 due to complex liability concerns. The college's equestrian program now functions out of Mexico, NY, but Fallbrook hill is still descended by thousands of sledding enthusiasts who are hearty enough to make the climb on foot. The radio tower at the top of the hill broadcasts WRVO throughout central New York. It is a campus based NPR station.
The ski lodge was renovated in the late 1960s to serve as a comfortable meeting space for campus and community groups and is able to accommodate up to 50 persons. In 1983, the large red barn was converted to serve as a rustic reception facility that can host 250 people. With the addition of the covered deck on the barn's south side in 1993, Fallbrook has become a popular site for summer weddings, alumni reunions and other large gatherings. Reservation inquiries may be made by calling the Auxiliary Services office, located at 506 Culkin Hall, at 315.312.2262.