New Year’s Day, 1876

“The morning opened dark and foggy, but not cold. Mud from 1/2 to 2-feet-deep. Toward noon the weather cleared and the balance of the day was excruciatingly fine and warm. Thermometer 60 degrees throughout the day. At 12 last night the Centennial was ushered in with ringing of bells and shouting and screeching from many voices. Many business places were illuminated. A large amount of Whiskey was probably consumed as many were hilarious and a few pugilistic. In fact, I deemed it imprudent to leave the vicinity of the store for fear of violence and consequently paid O’Grimes one dollar to stay the night.”

— Entry of January 1, 1876, from My Centennial Diary: A Year in the Life of a Country Boy by Earll K. Gurnee, age 18, Skaneateles, N.Y.

The Empress

“Of all the villages of Onondaga, Skaneateles is the Empress. Beautifully and delightfully situated, with an excellent view of one of the prettiest lakes in the world, and showing a landscape upon either border as lovely as heart could wish, with fine streets, excellent walks, shady yards, and elegant dwellings, no wonder it is the home of the opulent, the favorite of tourists, the haunt of. the man of leisure, and an earthly paradise to all visitors.”

— The Syracuse Standard, 1865