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Hamlin Town


Hamlin Town Hall is located at 1658 Lake Road, Hamlin NY 14464; phone: 585-964-2421.

Beginnings [1]

In the early 1800s, much of Western New York was forest covered. Gradually, settlers, primarily from New England and Eastern New York, purchased lands, previously occupied by the Iroquois and their prehistoric predecessors, from entrepreneurial developers and began clearing the land.

In 1806, Aretas Hascall established residence in the Town, becoming Hamlin's first permanent white settler. A few other pioneers followed, but emigration to the Town was extremely slow and difficult. No major transportation routes existed, the vast swamps induced unhealthy conditions, the area was remote from even small commercial centers, and the forests were practically impregnable. As a result, Hamlin was the last of Monroe County's towns to be permanently settled and organized.

Hamlin was originally part of the Town of Northampton [now Gates]. In 1807 this large town was divided, and Hamlin became part of the Town of Murray the following year. Clarkson and the land to become Hamlin separated from Murray in 1819 and this arrangement remained unchanged until 1852 when the Town of Union broke away from Clarkson. In 1861, Union changed its name to Hamlin after Hannibal Hamlin, Abraham Lincoln's first Vice-President.

Eventually, areas of the Town were cleared of trees and drainage to the lake was established. Once the swampy areas were made tillable, the soil of the Town was found to be unusually fertile. This, combined with a mild climate due to the proximity of the lake, assured Hamlin's development as a prime agricultural area. The lack of transportation facilities, however, remained a serious detriment to prosperity. The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 provided some relief, although roads to the canal were few and difficult to travel.

In the early 1870's grain farming continued to be a major occupation, but by this time the growing of fruit became equally important. In 1876, prompted by the success of this new industry, the Lake Ontario branch of the Rome, Watertown and Ogdensburg Railroad was extended through the Town, providing a much needed transportation route to commercial markets. Primarily after the Civil War, and with the help of the railroad, a new group of pleasure seekers came to Hamlin. Most would travel to Troutburg, a small community on the lake at the Hamlin-Orleans County line. Others were interested in the mouth of Sandy Creek. Sportsmen clubs and hotels began to spring up along the Hamlin shore of Lake Ontario.

In the summer of 1935 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a federally funded program growing out of the Great Depression, moved in a seven-year old County Park on Lake Ontario in the Town of Hamlin and began a six-year building project. They transformed Northwest Beach Park into what officially became Hamlin Beach State Park in 1938. The work camp, located just east on Moscow Road, closed in 1941 but was used briefly as a farm labor camp and subsequently as a prisoner of war camp until 1946. In 1961, the last section of the Lake Ontario State Parkway was completed. The Parkway connects the park with the City of Rochester.

  1. Town of Hamlin Comprehensive Master Plan, 2007, www.hamlinny.org, accessed August, 2010.
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