Essex, New York

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Essex, New York
The Octagonal Schoolhouse in the hamlet of Boquet
The Octagonal Schoolhouse in the hamlet of Boquet
Essex, New York is located in New York
Essex, New York
Essex, New York
Location within the state of New York
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Country United States
State New York
County Essex
 • Type Town Council
 • Town Supervisor Sharon M. Boisen
 • Town Council
 • Total 37.6 sq mi (97.3 km2)
 • Land 31.7 sq mi (82.1 km2)
 • Water 5.9 sq mi (15.2 km2)
Elevation 266 ft (81 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 671
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 12936
Area code(s) 518
FIPS code 36-24768
GNIS feature ID 0978946

Essex is a town in Essex County, New York, United States overlooking Lake Champlain. The population was 671 at the 2010 census. The town is named after locations in England.

The Town of Essex is on the eastern edge of the county. It is 17 miles (27 km) south-southwest of Burlington, VT which is on the other shore of Lake Champlain, 29 miles (47 km) south of Plattsburgh, 86 miles (138 km) south of Montreal, Quebec, and 113 miles (182 km) north of Albany, NY.[2] Essex is inside the Adirondack Park.


Essex was part of a land grant made to Louis Joseph Robart by French King Louis XV. The land grant was lost after the British took over the region after 1763.

The region was first settled around 1765 with the intention of forming a baronial estate like those of the lower Hudson River for landowner and investor, William Gilliland.

The town was formed from a part of the Town of Willsboro in 1805. It was an important shipbuilding location and port, but that economy collapsed after 1849 with the beginning of railroad lines in the region.

The Essex Village Historic District, the Essex County Home and Farm, and the Foothills Baptist Church are listed with the National Register of Historic Places.[3][4][5]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.6 square miles (97 km2), of which, 31.7 square miles (82 km2) of it is land and 5.9 square miles (15 km2) of it (15.62%) is water.

The Town of Essex borders at, its east town line, Lake Champlain and the state of Vermont.

New York State Route 22 is a north-south highway in Essex.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,223
1830 1,543 26.2%
1840 1,681 8.9%
1850 2,351 39.9%
1860 1,633 −30.5%
1870 1,600 −2.0%
1880 1,462 −8.6%
1890 1,437 −1.7%
1900 1,333 −7.2%
1910 1,276 −4.3%
1920 1,025 −19.7%
1930 1,116 8.9%
1940 1,002 −10.2%
1950 1,012 1.0%
1960 880 −13.0%
1970 837 −4.9%
1980 880 5.1%
1990 687 −21.9%
2000 713 3.8%
2010 671 −5.9%
Est. 2014 653 [6] −2.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
File:Foothills Baptist Church in Boquet (Essex), NY.JPG
The Foothills Baptist Church in Boquet

As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 713 people, 302 households, and 202 families residing in the town. The population density was 22.5 people per square mile (8.7/km²). There were 522 housing units at an average density of 16.5 per square mile (6.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.72% White, 0.14% Native American, and 0.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.14% of the population.

There were 302 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.79.

In the town the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 105.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $37,596, and the median income for a family was $40,104. Males had a median income of $26,905 versus $19,583 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,087. About 10.8% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.1% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.

Education and culture

Most of Essex, NY is served by Willsboro Central School District, though Westport Central School District is also used. Additionally some travel across Lake Champlain to Vermont or drive north to Plattsburgh, New York for private school.

For twenty years the Essex Theatre Company, located near the ferry dock in the Masonic Lodge, has continuously produced stage plays and broadway musicals for summertime enjoyment - and also occasional winter entertainment programs.

The entire town is situated among quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants, including the newly renovated Essex Inn. Most notable for their placement on the National Register of Historic Places, the entire town is included on the Registry.

Periodically there are adult education programs, such as a history lecture series, at the Whallonsburgh Grange.[9][10]

Public transport

Air service transport is provided by Plattsburgh International Airport (20 miles to North), and Burlington International Airport (across the ferry in Essex, to Burlington, VT). Both are within easy driving distance. Burlington International Airport serves International customers and Plattsburgh International Airport serves Regional and National carriers.

Ferry service between Essex, NY and Charlotte, VT is provided by the Lake Champlain Transportation Company. This became a year-round route in 1998.[11]

This route is used by many residents for access to medical care, jobs, school, and shopping. While most years in the past decade the ferry service has run year-round, the ice-breaking ferries usually used on this route have been redeployed to Crown Point, NY to fill in for the Champlain Bridge which was demolished in 2009.[12][13][14][15][16]

The first ferry service in Essex began operation around 1790.[17][18]

Amtrak service is available in Westport, NY, twelve miles to the south.

Access to medical care

Essex, NY is in a rural area in the Adirondack Park, and so most of its access to medical care is via the ferry operated by Lake Champlain Transportation. The nearest emergency room is Elizabethtown Community Hospital, a 25-bed rural hospital with eighteen on its active medical staff,[19] which is a 17 mile drive. Further away, accessible via 20 minute ferry and a significant drive, is the emergency room of Fletcher Allen Hospital,[20] a large, full-service hospital affiliated with the University of Vermont. An important fully staffed hospital and full-service emergency room is at CVPH Medical Center, in Plattsburgh, NY, approximately 35 miles away.[21]

Communities and locations in Essex

  • Beggs Point – Small point in the hamlet of Essex. Horseshoe nail and window sash factories where located here before burning down in the early 1900s. Now the town park with playground, fishing pier and boat launch. Sunrise religious services for Easter.
  • Boquet River – Its southern branch flows northward through the western portion of the town.
  • Boquet (formally West Essex or Wessex) – A hamlet on NY-22 west of Essex.
  • Brookfield – A former hamlet in the western part of Essex settled in 1797 by mostly Morris County, NJ and Dutchess County, NY, farmers and bloomers. Cemetery still exists.
  • Bluff Point – A point in the southeast portion of Essex hamlet. Lake depth drops to 100 ft off the cliff.
  • Bull Run – The hill on south Main Street traveling in Essex hamlet
  • Crooked S Hill – The hill west of Boquet after crossing the river. Named from the appearance of Jersey Street (County Road 12) as it twists up the hill.
  • Grog Harbor – A shallow bay between Bluff Point and Cannon Point. Named when liquor smugglers had to dump their cargo.
  • Canon Point – A shallow projection into Lake Champlain at Craterclub.
  • Crater Club – A hamlet on the shore of Lake Champlain, south of Essex hamlet on County Road 9.
  • Essex (formerly "Elizabeth") – The hamlet of Essex on the shore of Lake Champlain at the junction of NY-22 and County Road 9. The hamlet is the location of the town government and is a ferry port to Vermont. The village was the first county seat of Essex County when it was formed in 1799 until 1807, when Elizabethtown became the county seat. It was founded about 1765. The Essex Village Historic District encompasses many of the historic buildings.
  • Essex Station (also known as Merriam Station) – A location southwest of Essex hamlet on NY-22.
  • Sandy Beach – A private small sand beach in the northeast part of Essex hamlet.
  • Split Rock Point – The easternmost extension of the town into Lake Champlain.
  • Whallonsburg – A hamlet in the south part of the town on NY-22. It was founded about 1770. before a fire in the early 1900s, the hamlet produced furniture and other wood products.
  • Whallons Bay – A bay of Lake Champlain in the southwest part of Essex. The town beach is located here. Governor Pataki owns a home in Whallon's Bay.

Notable people

Some notable Essex, NY residents, past and present, include:

  • Sid Couchey (May 24, 1919 – March 11, 2012), an American cartoonist.
  • George Hearn (born June 18, 1934), an American actor.
  • Sergeant Frederick Jarvis (1841 – April 8, 1894), an American soldier and Medal of Honor recipient.
  • Steven Kellogg, children's book author.[22]
  • John L. Merriam (February 6, 1825 – January 12, 1895), a Minnesota banker, politician and Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives.
  • George Pataki (born June 24, 1945), the 53rd Governor of New York.
  • Henry H. Ross (May 9, 1790 – September 14, 1862), a U.S. Representative from New York.
  • Peter C. Schultz, co-inventor of the fiber optics.
  • Eugene Franklin Skinner (September 13, 1809 – December 15, 1864), a pioneer.
  • Reuben Whallon (December 7, 1776 – April 15, 1843), a U.S. Representative from New York.


  2. Wolfram Alpha, distance from Essex, NY to Plattsburgh NY, retrieved 11/15/10.
  3. Margaret Scheinin (n.d.). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Essex Village Historic District". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> See also: "Accompanying nine photos".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Raymond W. Smith (July 1982). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Essex County Home and Farm". New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Retrieved 2010-07-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> See also: "Accompanying 13 photos".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Brooke, Cornelius E. (February 1973). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Church of the Nazarene / Bouquet Chapel". Retrieved 2008-12-__. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> and Accompanying three photos, exterior and interior, undated
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Whallonsburgh Grange Lyceum Series.
  10. North Country Public Radio UpNorth Forum
  11. The Job That Comes and Goes: In the pilothouse with Lake Champlain's ferry captains by Tom Gresham, Adirondack Life, July/August 2007.
  12. Critics say ferry closure would cause "ordeal" in Champlain Valley, by Brian Mann, North Country Public Radio, November 11, 2010.
  13. Essex Neighbors Fear Ice Will Close Ferry: Commuters Say Ferry Service Needs A Solution, WPTX, October 22, 2010.
  14. Winter ferry closures worry Essex, N.Y.-Charlotte riders by Matt Sudkoski, Burlington Free Press, October 25, 2010.
  15. Commuters fight for year-round ferry, WCAX, November 10, 2010.
  16. Essex-Charlotte ferry reopens by Lohr MckInstry, Plattsburgh Press Republican, March 22, 2010.
  17. History of Essex, New York : An Introductory Sketch by Jan Peden, Historic Essex (Essex Community Heritage Organization).
  18. Essex on Lake Champlain by David C. Hislop, Jr., p. 34.
  19. Medical Staff & Specialty Physicians, Elizabethtown Community Hospital.
  20. Directions from Essex, NY to 111 Colchester Avenue, Burlington, VT, Google Maps.
  21. Google Maps.
  22. Children’s author Kellogg visits Norwood students,, June 18, 2010.

External links

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