Created By: The History Center in Tompkins County
The Whartons chose to locate their movie production studio in what was then Renwick Park, renamed Stewart Park, because of the beauty of the setting and its proximity to Cayuga Lake. When a scene required water -- be it the sea, lake or pond -- Cayuga Lake provided the perfect location.
This 1916 still is from Wharton Studio's "Patria" starring silent film superstar Irene Castle (her former home is also featured on this tour) shown in the photo. Young actresses were sometimes thrown into Cayuga Lake's icy waters to obtain the perfect shot for a scene. Legend has it that on occasion, due to the frigid temperatures of the lake, one or two had to be "fortified" with alcohol to bring up their body temperature.
This point of interest is part of the tour: Wharton Studio Silent Film Tour