Skaneateles Lake Collection

The Skaneateles Lake Collection documents various locations surrounding the finger lake through postcards, newspaper clippings, photographs, and a stereographic card. Items in the collection depict the ways through which the natural landscape offers a backdrop for recreation, leisure, and healthy living from the late-nineteenth century to the present day.

Several items relate to the Glen Haven Hotel, which under the proprietorship of Dr. W.C. Thomas, provided “water cure” treatments. These included half baths; dips in the cold lake; healthy eating with no coffee or tea; and drinking large amounts of water to cleanse the system. Across the lake in Fair Haven, an establishment offered alcoholic beverages. Patrons of the water cure that were tired of its restricted diet could row across the lake for a little liquid relief.

Newspaper clippings relating to the nearby Bear Swamp State Forest highlight the tension between environmental preservation and land use in the Skaneateles watershed, which provides both drinking water and recreation for Syracuse and the surrounding region.

Collection owner: Skaneateles Historical Society