Skaneateles (pop. approx. 2,400) is a resort village in Onondaga County. It occupies the northern shore of Skaneateles Lake, for which it was named. Skaneateles comes from an Iroquois phrase meaning “long lake.” Starting in 1803, the lakeside location attracted wealthy residents who built ambitious homes, endowing Skaneateles with impressively elegant housing stock in Victorian and earlier styles.
Some three miles north of the village, promoter John Anderson Collins launched a Utopian commune based on freethinking principles in 1843. The venture briefly involved a surprising roster of reformers and activists. Like most such communes, the Skaneateles Community lasted only three years before failing amid recriminations.