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Elizabethtown History


       Elizabethtown was established on February 12, 1798 and named for the daughter of William Gilliland at the first town meeting held on April 3rd, 1798.  Before the naming, the area was known as Pleasant Valley settlement.  As its prior name describes, settlers found Pleasant Valley a pleasant place to live.   Their wealth laid in the forest and iron ore for the early settlers; and soon saw, grist and forge wheels were powered up with large wooded wheels.  New England settlers came with their traditions of workshop and education; log schoolrooms were erected, and barns served as meeting houses.   As the population grew, roads developed as well as other nearby settlements.

Prior to 1798, Clinton county had just four towns (Champlain, Plattsburgh, Willsborough and Crown Point).  An Act in 1798 was passed to divide the region.  Elizabethtown was set off from the Crown Point area.  When Essex County was formed, Elizabethtown's boundaries were changed to be included in the Essex County lines.   Again, in 1808, Elizabethtown's boundaries were changed when Moriah was formed from Crown Point and Elizabethtown land.    And again in 1818, when Westport was formed, Elizabethtown land mass was changed.

Essex County's court house was first located in the northern outskirts of Essex as a block house because of the Indian scares (known as the Willsborough Blockhouse).  It wasn't until 1808, that a courthouse was erected in Elizabethtown.

Chronology (provided by Elizabethtown Bi-Centennial Committee) - time lines are fun to scan; however, there is much more activity of happenings in this unique Adirondack town.  Learn more about this charming town and visit the Adirondack History Center Museum located 7590 Court Street.  It will be a treat to learn about your community.

1798   Elizabethtown, formed from Crown Point, February 12, 1798, was named in honor of the wife and daughter of William Gilliland
1798   On September 11th Azel Abel bought land and put up a log building which served as Elizabethtown's first hotel.  It was in the area of that is now Egglefields Garage
1799   Essex County was set off from Clinton County March 1, 1799 with Willsboro as the County seat
1807   Elizabethtown became the County Seat
1808   The Essex County Courthouse was built
1808   Keene was formed from Elizabethtown and Jay, March 19, 1808
1810   Elizabethtown's population - 1,362
1811   The New York State Arsenal was built
1812   The Reveille, the first newspaper in the county was started in Elizabethtown by Luther Marsh, the printer and William Ray, the editor
1815   Westport was formed from Elizabethtown, March 24, 1815
1815   The first direct route from Elizabethtown to Westport was opened
1825   Basil Bishop built his famous cold blast forge at Split Rock Falls on the Boquet River
1825   Samuel Williams, the father of Charles N. Williams, was engaged in the manufacture of hats on  Water Steet
1830   Severe summer floods - much property damage
1833   Ozro Finel established a match factory on the bank of the Little Boquet just across the stream from where th4e Circulating Library building stands.
1833   The newspaper, "Essex County Times" was founded by R.W. Livingston.
1837   February 28th - The Total Abstinence Temperance Society of Elizabethtown was formed.
1845   New Russia was given its name by Col. Edmund F. Williams, Essex County Clerk
1846   The Valley Forge was erected.
1847   The Canal was dug from the dam on the Boquet River north of Fisher Bridge to the Valley Forge on the Wadhams Road.
1849   The Essex County Agricultural Society was organized.
1850   The Elizabethtown and Westport Plank Road was constructed.
1850   Elizabethtown's population - 1,635
1851   The Essex County Far was held in Elizabethtown on Fair Street, not Hand Ave, until 1865.  From then on it was held in Westport
1851   The newspaper "Elizabethtown Post" was started by Robert Wilson Livingston and Sewell Sergeant.
1856   September 30th - Flood destroyed bridges and buildings
1860   Elizabethtown's population - 1,343
1861   Bainbridge Bishop located the last pack of wolves in Elizabethtown.
1866   January 19th - Adirondack Lodge, No 602 F. & A.M. was chartered
1866   The Elizabethtown Union Free School was built.
1866   Elizabethtown organized its first baseball team.
1875   The Village of Elizabethtown was incorporated.
1882   The Enterprise Hose Company was formed.
1883   April 27th - Henry Debosnys was hanged in the Essex County jail yard
1884   The Elizabethtown Circulating Library was established.
1893   August 29th - Flood.
1895   January 24th - The Bullard Block was destroyed by fire.
1896   Cobble Hill Golf Course was established.
1898   Water power was harnessed at Rice's Falls for lighting the village with electricity.  The Power House was just below the site of the old Twin Bridges on Upper Water Street
1901   Local telephones were installed by the Lewis and Elizabethtown Telephone Association
1909   Construction of the Elizabethtown Terminal Railroad was started from Westport to Elizabethtown - never completed.
1912   Route 9 to Underwood was blacktopped
1914   November 10th - the Elizabethtown Union Free school was destroyed by fire
1924   Flood
1926   The Elizabethtown Community  Hospital opened in the former Kellogg Home
1928   The New York Telephone Company office building was constructed.
1932   The Cautin Bock was destroyed by fire
1938   The Elizabethtown Kiwanis Club was formed.
1939   November 10th - The Social Center was opened.
1947   Denton's Dam broke - the village was flooded.
1948   The newspaper, the "Valley News" was established by William D. Denton.
1949   The Elizabethtown-Westport road was built.
1950   Elizabethtown population - 1,208
1952   January 28th - the Prime Block was destroyed by fire.
1952   The new Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School building was completed.
1953   December 31st - Marvin's Furniture Store was destroyed by fire.
1955   The Adirondack Center museum was opened.
1956   April 11th - Cobble Hill Inn was destroyed by fire - rebuilt shortly after
1956   September 17th - The Capital Theater was destroyed by fire
1957   The new Post Office was built on Water Street
1958   The Army Reserve Training Center was built on Water Street
1965   The William Block and Judd House was razed.
1966   The Elizabethtown Community Hospital was constructed on Park Street.
1968   November - The Windsor Hotel was razed.
1968   December - The Deer's Head Inn was razed.
1971   June 18th - the Underhill Service Station was destroyed by fire - rebuilt shortly after.
1971   July 8th - the Wakefield Block was destroyed by fire.
1971   October 12th - Egglefield's Garage was destroyed by fire, rebuilt & had grand opening on September 1973.
1978   January - Flood in downtown business section and other areas
1979   June - The people voted to dissolve the village of Elizabethtown
1980   January 13th - The Little Tavern was destroyed by fire
1981   The Denton Publication building was constructed on High Street
1990   Elizabethtown population - 1,314
1996   January 19th - Flood
1996   November 9th - Flood
1997   The new Essex County Courthouse was constructed and opened
1998   January 7th - Elizabethtown escaped major devastation caused by the Ice Storm of 1998.
1998   June 27th - Elizabethtown held its Bicentennial Celebration.