Located in the heart of the quaint Village of Skaneateles, the Reuel Smith house, was built between 1848 and 1852. Designed by the renowned architect Alexander Jackson Davis, the home was built for Reuel Smith, partner in a New York City shipping firm. His son E. Reuel Smith inherited the estate. “E.R” , as he was called, was a prominent figure in the village having married into Skaneateles royalty, his wife being Elizabeth DeCost. Their son, DeCost Smith, noted painter of the American West, was born here. Reuel’s grandson, Sedgwick married Elsa Watts Smith, who in 1975 sold to Robert & Shirley Feldmann.
Documents of the original plans and additional photographs of the home have been archived.
Over the years significant details of this architectural gem were lovingly preserved, earning its distinction on the National Register of Historic Places. Details that were once thought lost were restored with a high degree of authenticity, starting in 1975 by Robert & Shirley Feldmann. Architects, contractors and advisors involved in the preservation and restoration of this home during the past forty years have been selected with great care.
Named by The Metropolitan Museum of Art as one of America’s most notable architects. A. J. Davis' career pinnacle in the 1840’s to 1850’s was during the design of this home. A. J. Davis is admired as the preeminent designer of “country” homes. His approach to Gothic Revival was something prominent Americans sought out and cherished, from Samuel F. B. Morse and Jay Gould, to successful merchants like Reuel Smith. While others of his era were building box houses, Alexander Jackson Davis pushed boundaries. His homes incorporated peaks, extensions in many directions, unique windows, and verandas, all of which can be found here. His unique decorative style has adorned landscapes across the Northeast and the Hudson River Valley. Although many A. J. Davis homes have been demolished, the shoreline of Skaneateles Lake continues to be graced by this jewel from “America’s Picturesque Architect."
For more information on History of the Home & Alexander Jackson Davis - click here
For Library of Congress Website images - click here
For an Article on Two Reuel Smiths - click here