The Good Old Days

“Soon after the Act of 1893, the State Board of Health adopted a complete code for the protection of the waters of Skaneateles. The Water Board of the City of Syracuse approved the rules. Judging by the clipping from the Syracuse Journal of August 21, 1906, which is in part as follows…

‘Syracuse water supply befouled by filthy waste. Rules and regulations of the State Board of Health promulgated 10 years ago violated every day along the shores of Skaneateles Lake. “The water from Skaneateles Lake which we drink every day is contaminated water,” said a local physician to the Journal to-day. These are the facts: that all the waste matter from the toilet rooms and the slops from the kitchen at the hotel at the head of Skaneateles Lake flow directly into the lake; that outhouses for the convenience of those who occupy property along the shores of the lake stand over little brooks which carry the contents of these outhouses into the lake; that during the summer season, men and women and boys and girls bathe in the lake on both the eastern and western shores along almost its entire length from Skaneateles village to Fair Haven; that it is from this body of water that the people of Syracuse obtain their water for domestic purposes;’

… and also to judge from my own observation on the spot, these rules seem to be largely disregarded. There is no regular continuous inspection or control of the watershed. There are numerous villages and many summer cottages, and at least one large hotel immediately on the shore, while the lake is a favorite summer resort with several large steamers running on it.”

Operation of Public Utilities: Report to the National Civic Federation, Commission on Public Ownership and Operation (1907)

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