Sidney, New York is located on approximately two square miles in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains along the banks of the Susquehanna River. It is situated in the northwest corner of Delaware County, abutting both Chenango and Otsego counties. Sidney is located at the junction of Interstate 88 and State Route 8, making the cities of Oneonta, Binghamton, and Utica readily accessible.
The locality now known as Sidney, New York, began its history at the junction of the Susquehanna and Unadilla Rivers. Over the centuries, the Oneida and Iroquois tribes used the area because of the convergence of the trails along the rivers, which they used for transportation. At least two, and probably more Native American tribes made their home in the Sidney area.
Recorded history of Sidney began in the early 1770's when Reverend William Johnston built his home in the location of the current Sidney Airport. The area was referred to as the Johnston Settlement or Sidney Plains and was geographically part of the Otsego County and the township of Unadilla.
During the American Revolution Reverend Johnston and most of the nonloyalist population of the area fled to Cherry Valley for protection from the pro-British Native Americans and the Tory claim-jumpers. In July 1778, in order to scatter Native Americans, New York's Governor Clinton ordered Colonel William Butler to burn their villages along the Susquehanna River. Soon after Reverend Johnston and the other white settlers returned to the area.
In 1796 the state legislature subdivided Otsego County. Delaware County was created from this subdivision. Later the Town of Sidney was subdivided to create the Town of Masonville.
During its formative years, Sidney's economic base consisted of farming, timber, potash harvest, and services catering to farming needs. In Ovtober 1866, the Albany and Susquehanna Railroad began service to Sidney. The Albany and Susquehanna was later purchased by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. In 1873, the Ontario and Western Railroad, the O & W, connected a North running rail line to the D & H rail line, and Sidney became a railroad hub.
Within a decade, Sidney built three hotels, doubled its population, and attracted more industry. By 1910 the Village had a French cheese factory, silk mill, cigar factory, carriage works, glass works, novelty works, and the Hatfield car manufacturing plant. However, by 1920 as a result of bad luck and bad business, which included a series of fires and strikes, most of these businesses closed or left the area.
In 1925 Scintilla Magneto Company, a Swiss firm with headquarters in New York City, bought the old Hatfield bulding and began manufacturing magnetos in Sidney. In 1929 the Bendix Aviation Corporation purchased Scintilla. Over the years, Bendix gained a world-class reputation for aerospace products. Currently the company is known as Amphenol Aerospace Corporation. The company currently employs about 1,100 factory workers and is one of the largest employer in Delaware County.
Keith Clark, the world's largest manufacturer of calendars, moved to Sidney from New York City in 1949. Having steadily expanded their calendar business, today they employee more than a thousand people. in addition to calendars, Keith Clark manufactures all varieties of time management products, which they ship throughout the world. Currently the company is known as ACCO Brands and employs over 700 employees.
Una-Lam, a division of Unadilla Silo Company, moved to Sidney from Unadilla in 1963. Una-Lam manufactures fire-resistant, laminated-wood arches, beams, storage sheds, swimming pools, hot tubs, and other wood products. There are numerous smaller businesses and industries in the area.
The Village of Sidney maintains a small airport, a police department, a volunteer fire department and an emergency squad. The Civic Center houses municipal offices and services. Most religous denominations are represented, and the community supports a myriad of service organizations and public interest groups. There is an AM-FM radio station, a weekly newspaper, and the high school operates a television station. The school district encompases two towns and parts of three others. The public library is chartered to service the school district's residents.
Currently the Village has a population of approximately 3,900.
THE NAME SIDNEY WAS ORIGINATED
SIDNEY* - was formed from Franklin, April 7, 1801. Masonville was taken off in 1811. It lies upon Susquehanna River, in the N.W. corner of the co. Its surface is a hilly upland, ending in high bluffs upon the valley of the river. The highest summits are 800 to 1200 ft. above the valley. Ouleout and Carrs Creeks flow W. through the town and empty into the Susquehanna. The valleys of these streams are deep and narrow, and are bordered by steep, rocky hills. The soil in the valleys is a fine fertile alluvium, and upon the hills a dark, shaly loam. Sidney, (p.v,) on the s. bank of the Susquehanna opposite Unadilla, contains 2 churches and 25 houses, Sidney Center, on Carrs Creek,** 1 church and 20 houses, and Sidney Plains,(p.v.,) upon the Susquehanna, in the N.W. corner of the town, 2 churches and about 20 houses. In May, 1772, Rev. Wm. Johnston, with an Indian guide, explored this region of country, and finally selected the present site of Sidney Plains as a place of settlement.*** Early in 1773 he moved in with his family, being the first settler in the Susquehanna Valley within the limits of the State. Several others soon followed. Just before the war, Gen. Herkimer held an interview with Brandt at this place, and the menacing attitude assumed by the Indians led Johnston and others who sympathized with the Continental cause to leave their new home for a less exposed situation. A few inhabitants remained during the war, and many returned immediately after its close.**** By an act of April 6, 1790, L800 was granted for the construction of a road from "Olehoudt" Creek to Catskill on the Hudson. The census reports 5 churches; 2 M.E., 2 Cong., and 1 Bap.
* Named from Sir Sidney Smith, the British Admiral. The name was first applied by John Mandeville, an English schoolmaster, then living on Sidney Plains.
** Named in memory of John Carr, a tory, who built a sawmill upon this stream at an early period.
*** At this place was the site of an old Indian fort. Three acres of ground were enclosed by mounds of earth surrounded by a ditch. From early times the place has been called "The Fort Grounds."
**** The first gristmill W. of Harpersfield was built, in 1778, by Abm. Fuller, on the Ouleout, near Wattles Ferry. An inn was opened at the ferry in 1785, by Nathaniel Wattles. The first raft was sent down to Harrisburgh in 1795, by Capt. David McMasters. In 1787 a great scarcity of provisions occasioned much distress in this valley, and the settlers were saved from starvation by a boat load of flour from Northumberland, Penn, got to them through the exertions of Gen. Daniel Bates.
Sidney Chamber of Commerce (607) 561-2642 21 Liberty Street, P.O. Box 2295, Sidney, NY 13838
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