The L.C. Smith Building

Seattle Stamp

You may ask what this cinderella stamp promoting Seattle tourism has to do with Skaneateles, so I’ll tell you. It’s all about Burns Lyman Smith.

Burns first visited Seattle in 1888, and later convinced his father, Lyman C. Smith, to see the city for himself. Lyman had made a fortune with the L.C. Smith shotgun and was on the way to a larger fortune making Smith Premier typewriters. In the early 1890s, Seattle real estate mogul James W. Clise visited the elder Smith in Syracuse and sold him eight separate Seattle properties.

In 1909, Lyman returned from a trip to Seattle with plans to build a 14-story office building on his property. But Burns felt that if the L.C. Smith Building was the tallest building west of the Mississippi, it would lift sales of Smith Premier typewriters. And so it was. The L.C. Smith Building was completed in the summer of 1914 and rises from the center of the stamp above.

Back to Skaneateles: In the summer of 1917, Burns Lyman Smith leased “Roseleigh,” the former home of Fred & Mary Roosevelt, in Skaneateles. He liked it, and bought the house and its 10 acres for $25,000. The newspaper noted:

“The house contains ten bedrooms, four baths, billiard parlors, dining room, den and living room, and has a fireplace in every room. There are also a boathouse and a garage on the lot. The property has a frontage of 231 feet on Genesee Street, a depth of 1,120 feet and a frontage of 310 feet on the lake. The grounds are landscaped and will be further improved.”

In 1929, Smith moved to Seattle, and “Roseleigh” saw the last of him. He died in 1940. “Roseleigh” is now subdivided into two lots for residences. The L.C. Smith building in Seattle still stands tall.

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