Beginnings of Auburn

European settlers began to arrive in the Auburn area in 1789. In 1793, during the Post Revolutionary War era, more settled in this area with John Hardenbergh, a veteran of an earlier Iroquois Indian campaign, instrumental in the area’s development. The community began to thrive with Hardenbergh’s gristmill and sawmill.

Homes of this era remain in the area.

The area grew further with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. This Canal allowed goods to be shipped inexpensively. The Canal was 363 miles in length running from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, across the State. It was the first waterway connection in this area.

The Canal was 36 feet wide and 4 feet deep. Boats were raised and lowered via a series of locks controlling water flow.

In 1816, Auburn Correctional Facility, was added to the area creating additional jobs. A local told me the New York State legislature elected to take the Prison in lieu of being chosen as the state capitol, however, in my research have not located this fact, though I do not doubt the resource. Auburn was a model of prison reform offering new ideas regarding inmate incarceration. It remains open to this day.


By the 1870’s the Lehigh Railroad extended their service to the area which further enriched the Auburn supply chain.

Next: Notable Auburn Citizens

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