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Richmondville Town

Richmondville Town Hall is located at 340 Main Street, Richmondville NY 12149; phone: 518-294-7150.

Beginnings [1]

Long before the arrival of Europeans, people lived in the Richmondville area, most likely using the flat land near creeks and the food and transportation resources the creeks provided. In the early 1990s, an archaic site (Haviland Site) was found near the junction of the West and Cobleskill Creeks. An amazing archaeological find, the site is approximately 8,400 years old.

The history that has shaped Richmondville as we see it today really began with the first European settlers, George Warner and John Zea, who came from Germany and settled near the hamlet of Warnerville. This hamlet was formerly known as "Manns Valley," after the family of Captain George Mann of Schoharie who moved to the area in 1786. During the Revolutionary War (June 1, 1778) the Battle of Cobleskill took place around Warnerville.

On July 4, 1834, the D & H Railroad was completed. Around this time the dams at the Bears Gulch and Fancher Reservoir were built, furnishing power for six large and well equipped mills and a storage barn for the wool manufactured at the woolen mill.

The Town of Richmondville was formed from part of the Town of Cobleskill on April 11, 1849. The Village was incorporated in 1881. Richmondville was the sixteenth and last town to be established in Schoharie County. In 1851, the town added a small portion of territory from the Town of Seward. The Town was named Richmondville after John Richmond, an early postmaster. In the same year the plank road from Albany to Charlotteville was built with the push of Judge John Westover.

In 1865, Depot Street was laid out and a plank stairway from the Paper Mill Bridge to the Depot. During this same year, a paper mill and a new school were built. The school (Maccabee Hall) was located on Summit Street and dismantled in the 1950s.

In 1870, Richmondville had grown so fast that there was a population of 2,307 (about the same as today) and twelve school districts with 722 pupils enrolled. Depot Street grew rapidly until many dwellings and a meat market were built. Judge Westover built all the buildings around the park, including the Westover Hotel, from bricks made in a local brick yard. The Bank of Richmondville was founded by Judge Westover and opened on April 1, 1881 on the first floor of the Westover Hotel. In 1888, the bank moved to the present location. Similar to other upstate New York communities, Richmondville was prosperous due to its location as a transportation crossroads for commerce and rail; abundance of farms, mills, and manufacturing enterprises; and the hotels and taverns servicing the population. After the 1860-1870 peak in population, a steady decrease in population started after the Civil War and continued until World War II. The demise of traditional manufacturing, decline in rail commerce, major transportation bypasses of the Village (including NYS Route 10 and Interstate 88), and the ability of people to travel faster and farther for goods and services have all contributed to an economic shift that finds Richmondville in its current state.

Since World War II, the population has steadily increased, and the population is currently at the highest point in Richmondville's history. Population growth is due to a combination of newcomers escaping the growth of the Washington D.C. to Boston "megalopolis", seeking small town atmosphere and cheaper land and relocating "locals" positioning closer to the transportation accessibility of I-88 and the convenience to the Capital District. Within the Town/Village, a shift of traffic towards the Warnerville area and the economic draw of the Village of Cobleskill, has left the Village and Town of Richmondville in a state of economic and social transition. Commercial growth that may be incompatible with surrounding uses and a loss of regional character will continue to occur along NYS Route 7, and open space will continue to decrease unless the Town/ Village plan for the future.

  1. Joint Town and Village Comprehensive Plan Board, Town and Village of Richmondville Comprehensive Plan, 2006, www.schohariecounty-ny.gov, accessed June 2009.
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