Friends received this photograph as a housewarming gift and it raised a number of questions: who took the photo, where and when was it taken, and who was sitting on the breakwall.
The “where” was easy; the photo was taken at the Cove, or the West Cove as it is also known, on the lake side of West Lake Street.
The “who” and “when” is a little more difficult. In the lower right-hand corner is the imprint of the “Lakeside Studio,” a part of the firm of Livingston, Williams & Hunt (later just Williams & Hunt), dry goods merchants who sold postcards of Skaneateles they had printed in Germany. This narrows the search down: the date to between 1899 and 1930, and to two photographers, Izora N. Cayvette and Manford Lindon Shattuck.
Earlier, in 1885, the Lake Shore Studio was established by Frank Lincoln Harris, upstairs from the store of Herbert A. Livingston. In June of 1895, Harris left the village and moved his studio to Cortland, N.Y., where he was assisted by Izora Cayvette between 1896 and 1901.
After working in Syracuse as a photographic retoucher, Izora “Zora” Cayvette came to Skaneateles in 1907 and became the house photographer for the Lakeside Studio.
In July of 1918, Zora Cayvette left Skaneateles, moving to Florida, and M.L. Shattuck took her place. Whereas Cayvette was primarily a portrait photographer, Shattuck also had artistic leanings.
American Photography, August 1921
My best guess is that Shattuck took the photo of the West Cove in the 1920s and, going out on a limb, I would suggest that the young man on the breakwall is Sedgwick Smith. His family had the wherewithal to commission a photo, and he is seated not far from the Smith family home, just across West Lake Street, where he spent most of his life.
For fans of the West Cove, here are a few more images:
The Cove (and Charles Poor’s “What Is It”) in 1884, photo possibly by Lindsay Poor
A dog in a boat, which became a postcard in 1905…
Dated 1907, but I’ll bet it’s the same dog.
Harry Pierce’s “Sunshine,” photo courtesy of the Skaneateles Historical Society
Panoramic postcard by Williams & Hunt
Tinted postcard by Williams & Hunt