William H. Hall, merchant and grocer, had an interesting hobby. He caught fish, recorded the date, the fish’s weight and the name of the person to whom he gave the fish in a neatly written journal, today in the collection of the Skaneateles Library Association.
What fascinates me about this photo of Hall’s store on Genesee Street is the Cubanola cigar sign in the window. Cubanola was a brand of the United Cigar Manufacturers and received major advertising support, from tin signs for merchants like W.H. Hall all the way up to painted walls that even today are being rediscovered when adjacent buildings are torn down, such as this sign in Radford, Virginia.
The nearest Cubanola factory was in Kingston, N.Y., where 1,400 employees rolled cigars for the puffing public. Those advocating child labor laws maintained that most of these workers were “boys and girls.” In all, the United Cigar Manufacturers employed 13,000 workers making 400 million cigars a year. But for those who appreciated a locally produced product, there were indeed cigar makers in Skaneateles.