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Skaneateles ( , preferred, or (like "skinny atlas"), common) is a town in Onondaga Countymarker, New Yorkmarker, United Statesmarker. The population was 7,323 at the 2000 census. The name is from the Iroquois "Indian" tribe term for the adjacent lake: "long lake." The town is on the western border of the county and includes a village, also called Skaneatelesmarker. Both town and village are southwest of Syracuse, New Yorkmarker.


The area was part of the former Central New York Military Tract. The town of Skaneateles was formed in 1830 from the town of Marcellus. Early turnpikes facilitated development, as mentioned in the article about the village of Skaneateles. The town was noted for participation in reform movements prior to the Civil War.

The utopian Skaneateles Community in 1843 acquired and successfully operated a large farm and developed small industries, but ultimately failed because of internal difficulties, as well as external concern about its unorthodox social practices. Locally it was sometimes called "No God," because of the atheistic views of members. The Skaneateles Community published a newspaper, the "Comunitist" [sic] between 1844 and 1846, when the community dissolved. Buildings are extant, known as "Community Place," now serving a bed-and-breakfast function.

Some Skaneateles men volunteered for the ill-fated campaign (Patriot War, 1848) to liberate Canadamarker and were imprisoned by the British in Tasmaniamarker. Quaker congregations were involved in abolition activity. Underground Railroad sites have been documented in the town of Skaneateles. Although the larger city of Syracuse nearby was known nationally as center of abolition and Underground Railroad activity, Skaneatles was said (by Beauchamp, an early historian) to have "eclipsed Syracuse as an anti-slavery town."


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 48.8 square miles (126.3 km²), of which, 42.7 square miles (110.5 km²) of it is land and 6.1 square miles (15.8 km²) of it (12.51%) is water.


Farms and rolling hills surround Skaneateles Lake.

Skaneateles Lake looking south from the west side of the lake.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,323 people, 2,881 households, and 2,082 families residing in the town. The population density was 171.7 people per square mile (66.3/km²). There were 3,233 housing units at an average density of 75.8/sq mi (29.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.99% White, 0.10% Black or African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.04% from other races, and 0.42% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.42% of the population.

There were 2,881 households out of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.2% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.7% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 4.4% from 18 to 24, 24.5% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $57,550, and the median income for a family was $69,023. Males had a median income of $51,621 versus $31,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $28,624. About 1.8% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.1% of those under age 18 and 3.7% of those age 65 or over.
High pasture, west side of lake.
Residents and visitors stroll along Skaneateles’ pier, just off Clift Park in the village of Skaneateles, for the best view of antique boats during Skaneateles’ annual Antique and Classic Boat Show.

Communities and locations in the Town of Skaneateles

  • Highland Way – A neighborhood just east of Skaneateles, Onondaga Rd
  • Jones Beach – A hamlet on the east shore of Skaneatles Lake on NY-41.
  • Long Bridge – A hamlet at the north town line, north of Mottville.
  • Mandana – A hamlet down the west side of the lake.
  • Mottvillemarker – A hamlet two miles north of Skaneates village on Jordan Street and north of Willow Glen.
  • Shepard Settlementmarker – A farming hamlet.
  • Skaneatelesmarker – A village at the north end of Skaneateles Lake.
  • Thornton Grove – A lakeshore neighborhood on the west side of the lake south of Winding Way.
  • Thornton Heights – A lakeshore neighborhood on the west side of the lake home of the Veggie Stand.
  • Wicks Corners – A neighborhood on the west town line, northwest of Skaneateles village.
  • Willow Glen – A neighborhood on Old Seneca Turnpike, located north of Skaneatels village.
  • Winding Way – A neighborhood on the west shore of Skaneateles Lake.


  • William Beauchamp. "Notes of other days in Skaneateles, written for the Skaneateles democrat in 1876. Cornell Library New York State Literature [34884]
  • Hamm, Thomas D., God's Government Begun: The Society fo Universal Inquiry and Reform, 1842-1846. Indian University Press, 1995.
  • Hamm, Thomas D. "Skaneateles Community." Encyclopedia of New York State, Syracuse University Press, 2005.
  • Fogarty, Robert. "Utopian and Intentional Communities," The Encyclopedia of New York State. Syracuse University Press, 2005.

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