“ Historic Images of Owasco Lake”

Owasco Lake Over the Years

In the nineteenth century, Owasco Lake was a popular vacation spot for the well-to-do. A casino located just north of Cascade hosted guests travelling by rail along the western length of the lake. Vestiges of the railway remain in the swampy waters, but the casino burned down in the early years of the twentieth century. The "indianist" composer Arthur Farwell camped on the east shore in 1899, before assuming his teaching duties at Cornell University, and wrote a charming set of piano pieces depicting his experience, entitled "Owasco Memories." He included a representation of "The Casino Across the Lake."

Over the years Owasco Lake has played host to Amusement Parks, traveling dignitaries, Indian villages, resort hotels, recreational boaters and swimmers, fishermen, marinas, tour boats, farmers, and artists. For many years during the 1800’s and early 1900’s the “Elite” would come to Owasco Lake via the train from Syracuse and then via steamer to one of the many resorts on the lake. The lake became know for its drinking, gambling, and entertainment.

Now people are becoming more aware than ever that this “Jewel of the Finger Lakes”, is increasingly vulnerable to outside threats that can ruin this lake. That we all depend upon. As you enjoy these images perhaps you may be inspired to help us preserve this unique area for our children.

Owasco Lake in the moonlight around 1910