Mission Statement: The purpose of the Skaneateles Historical Society is to conduct and encourage historical research and to collect, preserve, and exhibit historical material in connection with the Town of Skaneateles.
Address: 28 Hannum Street, Skaneateles, NY 13152-1009. Map Phone: 315-685-1360.


Details . . .

Museum Hours:
Jan-April, Fri 1-4
May-June, Fri-Sat 1-4
July-Aug, Fri, Sat, Sun 1-4
Sept-Oct, Fri-Sat 1-4
Nov to Thanksgiving, Fri 1-4
Thanksgiving-Christmas, Fri, Sat, Sun 1-4


Pavers make a unique holiday gift idea!
Are you looking for an unusual gift idea? Consider buying a tribute paver to help support the Historical Society in memory of a loved one or in honor of someone special. Two sizes are available, 4" x 8" and 8" x 8". Forms are available at the Museum at the Creamery, in the outside display stand and inside the front door when we are open.


shop for museums logo When you shop online give a FREE DONATION to The Skaneateles Historical Society!
Make your online shopping go further by using the ShopforMuseums.com portal. Simply start at ShopforMuseums.com, select The Skaneateles Historical Society, then use the links to click through to hundreds of your favorite stores. A percentage of your purchase amount is given back to us as a FREE DONATION. Thank you for thinking of The Skaneateles Historical Society. Your donations are greatly appreciated.
Gift Shop
Stop and shop at our new gift shop located in the entrance of the museum. Our new items include beautiful glassware with an etching of a Teasel or Lightning Boat. These glass tumblers come in a set of four already gift boxed and are priced at $21.95. What a lovely gift for yourself or to give to someone to remember Skaneateles. You will also see boxed sets of notecards featuring a painting from our very talented local artist, Peggy Manring.

List of selected items from shop

Please help our society by making a monetary contribution.
Tuesday, June 24, 7:30 p.m.
Kihm Winship on the Persistence of the Stanford White Myth in Skaneateles.

Research Assistance
Research assistance is generally available on Fridays or by appointment.
Lightning #1 (built by Skaneatels Boats in 1938) arrived late in the day on June 6, 2011, and is now on display on a pedestal on the main floor in the Boiler House.
Comet #1373 (built in 1939) is suspended so that one can view its interior and deck from the mezzanine and its profile and bottom from the deck below.
Various smaller boats are also displayed.
As with any such community-based endeavor, volunteers are always needed. Many hands make light work! Be a museum guide/docent, clerk in the gift shop, assist archivists and director in tending files, transcribe documents, assist in designing and mounting exhibits, and the list goes on. Whatever your talents and interests we can probably find a place for you.



DID YOU KNOW? If you were a teen-aged boy in the mid-1840s your favorite secluded swimming place in the creek would have been the Sink. Source: Beauchamp, page 52. (Beauchamp's description makes it appear as if this place was located at or near the place where the creek bends gently to the right at the intersection of the Alan Bobbett/Arbor House Inn property and the outlet.


clickable link


Sidewalk Superintendents,
take a look at a slideshow tracing the progression of the museum expansion.


LETTERIO CALAPAI? Letterio Calapai (1902 - 1993) was an artist who for a short time in the early to mid 1940s maintained a studio in the space above McLaren's Bar and Grill (site of the present-day Kabuki). It was he who designed and executed the temporary honor roll that was hand-painted on Masonite nailed over the hoarding that concealed from view the remains of the Brounstein fire of 1936. This honor roll, dedicated on Memorial Day 1943, served the community until it was replaced by the permanent bronze plaque in Shotwell Park on Memorial Day 1950
Dedicating himself to the teaching of art, he founded and chaired the Graphic Arts Department of the Albright Art School in Buffalo, taught at the New School for Social Research, established the Intaglio Workshop for Advance Printmaking in NYC, and taught at several colleges and universities. In 1984 he was deemed “a printmaker for the twentieth century” by The Chicago Sun-Times.
Wikipedia says that his work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Bibliotheque National de France, the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Welcome! Thank you for visiting.

Our Historic Home: The Creamery

The CreameryThe Creamery opened in 1899 as a place for local farmers to sell their milk and for residents to buy dairy products. In 1918 the Skaneateles Creamery Company was sold to the Best Ice Cream Company. They in turn sold it in 1948 to the Borden Milk Company, which ended operations here the following year. A local businessman bought the building for storage space and in 1989 donated it to the Village.
The Skaneateles Historical Society was given the opportunity to renovate the Creamery as a museum and as a home for the Society. In 1992, thanks to gifts of time, talent, and funding from the entire community, the Creamery proudly reopened.


The Creamery is open from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. on selected Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the year, depending upon the season. For specifics, see the box near the top of this page.
Extensive materials are available for historical and genealogical research related to the Skaneateles area. Some materials are available in the meeting room that is open to the public, but original archival material is available only on Fridays when a researcher is present to assist, advise, and supervise.

The Historians

The Town Historian and the Village Historian work closely together and with the Society. The Town Historian is Ms. Beth Batlle, c/o the Town Hall, 24 Jordan St., Skaneateles, NY 13152-1110 (email: bquest4@verizon.net). The Deputy Town Historian is Charlie Major, ctmajor@verizon.net. The Village Historian is Mr. Jorge Batlle, c/o the Village Office, 46 East Genesee Street, Skaneateles, NY 13152 (email: bquest4@verizon.net).
If you need help, try to decide which would be more appropriate, and do not submit duplicate inquiries. Although they do not have the time to provide complete genealogical research, they are happy to offer suggestions and send photocopies of relevant materials for a modest fee. Please keep in mind that the information relates only to the Town of Skaneateles.

The Museum

Museum LogoOur artifact collection features hundreds of items related to farming, manufacturing, recreation, transportion, art, architecture, the press, and commerce. Of special interest are the locally manufactured boats, carriages, wooden toys, medical instruments, sleigh, and chairs. In addition to the exhibits devoted to dairy farming and the business of the creamery, there is a fine display of the raising and marketing of fuller's teasels. This was an industry limited to very few places in the U.S. The exhibits devoted to transportation cover the Skaneateles Short Line RR, the interurban trolley that ran through the village, and the large excursion boats that plied the lake. As can be expected the lake played a significant role in the history of the community. One can learn about the immense waterpower that was available along the outlet and about how Skaneateles became the source of water for the City of Syracuse. And the list goes on.

The Interactive Lake Model

Lake Model The newest display at the Museum at The Creamery is this exciting interactive lake model. Approximately 9’ long and 3’ wide, it allows visitors to press 12 different buttons that light up small LED bulbs to show points of interest around the lake. More information about each point is displayed on a 52” flat screen monitor mounted above the model. The lake’s topography has been enhanced to better show the high cliffs at the south end of the lake. The depths of the lake are also visible. In addition, the model delineates the watershed and many of the spring-fed tributaries that contribute to the lake’s proud legacy of being an unfiltered source of drinking water. A track pad attached to a minicomputer is being used to add additional information about the Skaneateles area; the history of the steamboats is currently available for viewing, as well as a description of the building of the lake model.

The Online Archives

Anyone doing research on Skaneateles ancestors and inhabitants may very well find exactly what they are looking for in our online archives. They include:

The St. Mary's Cemetery Gravestone Database
This database contains 3,000 records compiled by Harold Witter. St. Mary's Cemetery was dedicated in 1856. See additional notes at the top of the data file.
The Lake View Cemetery Database
This database contains over 7,900 records provided by the Village of Skaneateles Cemetery Board and transcribed by Karen Richards and Barbara Spain. These records date from 1796 through 1988.
Our Newspaper Database of Births, Marriages, and Deaths
This database contains over 22,300 records compiled from the old newspaper announcements indexed at the Skaneateles Historical Society offices by Jim Dougherty and Ted Prindle. Records from The Columbian date from 1831 through March 1853. Records from the Democrat date from 1843 through 1880. Records from the Free Press date from 1881 through 1899. Records from The Skaneateles Press dated from 1900 through 1919.
Census Indexes
Our collection covers many Federal and New York State Census records for the 19th and 20th centuries.

Visit our Archives Directory to view the files. Download time is relatively fast, and if you wish you can save the entire individual files easily to your computer to search with your favorite program.

If there is a record of a newspaper announcement in our database file that you would like to see, please write to us and provide a stamped self addressed return envelope. A suggested donation of $5 for services and copies will be appreciated.


1940 Federal Census Data
Our index for the Population Schedules from the 1940 census for the Village and Town of Skaneateles has been completed and is now online with links to images of the sheets that were originally filled out by the census takers. Access this data through the archives menu or go directly by linking to

Image Gallery
Hundreds of images scanned from the photographic collection of the Skaneateles Historical Society

notes on other days in Skaneateles
Full Text


image of Lake View House



Buy a TRIBUTE PAVER! For $125 (for a 4”x8”) or $200 (for an 8”x8”) we’ll put an engraved brick near the new entrance as a permanent recognition of your contribution.
First, use the "Read Me First" button, which will lead you to an order form that you can print out. Print out the Tribute Paver page, fill in your preferred lettering , and mail it to the Skaneateles Historical Society at 28 Hannum Street, Skaneateles, NY 13152. You may pay either with the PayPal "Buy a Paving Brick" button, or by sending a check along with your Tribute Paver page.

read me first button

The Warren Wallace Drug Store in the 1870s or 1880s, located at what is now 16 East Genesee Street. It is apparent from two windows on the second floor that straddle the door rather than three windows with the middle one directly over the door that the store was in the block of three that held Davey's Drugs, the Ben Franklin and Harse's throughout most of the 1930s, 1940s and after. It is not the Davey's location, because the windows on the second floor of that third of the block are a little over-sized and are placed just a little higher. Nor is it the Harse location, because they had a stairwell on the left ascending to the second storey. Therefore, it must be the middle of the three.
Correction: Recently at least one picture has come to light revealing that the larger window above the Davey's location was not the original window. This means that the Davey's location cannot be so easily ruled out as the location for the Warren Wallace Drug Store.

OHA Medal
Skaneateles Historical Society
was a recipient in 2011 of the
Onondaga Historical Association
Medal for Excellence




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Address: 28 Hannum Street, Skaneateles, NY 13152-1009
Phone: 315-685-1360

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