Origins of Village Street Names – Eagle News Online

SKANEATELES – Academy Street: This street originally ran from Jordan Street east to Skaneateles Academy and the end of the original State Street. The eastern part after State Street was to be called William Street. It has never been used. It was called East Academy Street. Today some call it “Upper Academy Street”.

Austin Street received its name from the Aaron Austin family who owned a farm bounded by Jordan Street to the west and State Street to the east and Austin Street was the southern boundary. Later it was extended west to Railroad Street now called Fennell St.

Chestnut Circle: A two-house cul-de-sac off East Genesee Street, likely named for the horse chestnut trees that existed throughout the village.

Elizabeth Street: The street originally ran from Jordan Street east to John Street, now Leitch Avenue. It was part of Charles Burnett’s property which he donated for a street. He is named after his daughter Elizabeth. Later the street was extended west to Railroad Street and west to Franklin Street – and east to East Street.

East Street: First known as Baber Street for the family who settled across from Austin’s farm. Later it was changed to East Street running from Onondaga Street north past the village boundary. There is no documented reason why it was called East Street other than it was the easternmost street in the village.

East Lake Street: Originally called Somerset Street, after the tavern on the corner of East Lake Street and Onondaga Street, The Somerset House. Later the name was changed to Cross Street as it was the intersection of Onondaga and Genesee Street. Then it was changed to East Lake Street. This has caused some confusion with East Lake Road or New York Route 41.

East Lake Road (Street): Route 41 Named because it was the road that ran south along the east side of the lake. The part of East Lake Road which is within the village limits has had its name corrected and is now called East Lake Street.

Fennell Street is named after Martin Fennell, a resident of the street and engineer of the Skaneateles Railway and Lake Steamers. Originally called Railroad Street as the railway ran just off the causeway to the far north outside the village. In the days of the railroad, this street was called “soot alley” because of the smoke from the locomotives.

Fuller Street: One block in the village, it extends north from West Genesee Street and becomes Franklin Street in the city. Named after prominent abolitionist and Quaker, James Canning Fuller, whose home is across from Lake View Cemetery on the corner.

Gayle Road: The street runs west from East Lake Street. Developer Reardon purchased the property from Donald Dodd. The neighborhood has become a housing estate. The road is named after Dodd’s daughter, Gayle.

Genesee Street: US Route 20 The main street in the village, known as Main Street at the very beginning. Most towns and cities in central New York State have a Genesee Street. Many people who settled in our state because of the westward movement had as their destination the country of Genesee which is west of the village. Often streets were named after the destination of those who used them most often. It was also called Skaneateles-Hamilton Turnpike.

Goodspeed Place: A small dead end street running north from East Genesee Street. Charles Goodspeed raised ginseng and had ginseng sheds and drying trays in the area. It was previously called Oak Street because of the many large oak trees there.

Griffin Street: Jacob Griffin, a prominent Quaker came here in 1844. He owned land along the street, which was named after him.

Hannum Street: This street is located between West Genesee Street and Griffin Street. At first it was a very narrow street leading to The Creamery and the Pound village. The street was once called “The Alley of the Pound”. Also called North Street by some. Spencer Hannum bought property along the outlet and built a house and foundry.

Highland Street: It runs between Orchard Road and Franklin Street. The origin of the name is unknown.

Jordan Street: The destination theory could apply to the naming of Jordan Street. It was the way to the hamlet of Jordan, where the canal provided transportation to other parts of the state.

Kane Avenue: In December 1948, a new street was extended south from West Genesee Street to West Lake Road (Highway 41A). It was named in honor of Samuel Kane, president of the village from 1923 to 1927.

Kelley Street: A small street between Fennell and Hannum streets. The village wanted to connect the two streets and this was the shortest distance on the exit. The story was that it was named for a “troubled” man named Kelley. He befriended William Stuart, a prominent villager, who asked the man if he would like a street named after him. He said yes.” So this very short street became Kelley Street.

Lakeview Circle: A single entrance south of East Genesee Street, the road from this 1950s development loops around the lake and back north to reconnect. Originally the lakeside property of the Specht house (now the Athenaeum), it offered a grand view of the lake.

Leitch Avenue: A narrow street running north from East Genesee Street to Elizabeth Street, originally named John Street, son of merchant, postmaster and large landowner Charles Burnett. George Leitch owned the land on the east side bordering John Street. He offered to donate 12 feet of land beside John Street to the village to widen the street and plant trees, if they called it Leitch Avenue.

Onondaga Street: The theory of Genesee Street and Jordan Street can also be applied to Onondaga Street. It was the route east to the town of Onondaga, which at first was just a small settlement. Outside the village limits, it is called New Seneca Turnpike. (see Skaneateles Press Historic Moment of February 23, 2022 on stage coaching).

Orchard Road connects West Genesee Street to West Elizabeth Street. James Root, who lived in the Fuller household, had a large nursery with orchards as part of it. He was a distributor of apples and other plants. The Fuller House faces east with a view of the orchard and nursery. Orchard Road has been extended north into the new development.

State Street (State Route 321): Around 1828, the street ran north from East Genesee Street to Academy Street, where Skaneateles Academy was located. There is no documentation as to why it was given the name “State Street”. A property deed calls it Center Street, likely due to its central location in the business district. A later extension of State Street from Academy Street north to the Village line was named Syracuse Street. Again, the destination naming seems to apply here. The land for this street was again donated by Charles Burnett. Eventually, the entire length of the village was called State Street.

Teasel Lane A short street running south from Onondaga Street created for new residential development. Named because teasels were grown in the area. It can be reached at Goodspeed Place.

West Lake Street At first it was only known as Lake Street. It ran south along the western shore of the lake to the village limits. After that it becomes West Lake Road.

Note – village fire lanes were designated by numbers on the west side and letters on the east side. In 1991, the new countywide emergency dispatch system could not handle only numbers or letters as addresses. So the village, with the help of historians, who suggested local historical names, gave historical names to the alleys. An exception was for Fire Lane B, on the east side. The name Bitter Sweet Lane was chosen by a resident of this lane.

Other more recent streets have been added. Some are: Ramblewood Drive, Sachem Drive, Whitegate Drive, Heritage Woods Road, Wicklow Drive, Heather Woods Court, Hawthorne Woods Court, Woodmere Lane. These names were selected by the developer and verified by Onondaga County Planning, to ensure there are no duplicates elsewhere in the county. The village historian also suggested other famous local names: Barrow Lane, Packwood, Sinclair and Prentiss Drives, for the new housing development north of West Elizabeth Street.

Note – information on these names was provided, in part, by the late Skaneateles historian Helen Ionta’s notes.

By Jorge Batlle

Skaneateles Village Historian

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