County Seat: Waterloo
Year Organized: 1804
Square Miles: 325
1 DiPronio Drive
from the Indian tribe that once occupied the region
County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts
Seneca County was taken from Cayuga in 1804; since which other counties have been formed from it. Its greatest length
N. and S. is 36 miles; medium width, 12. Centrally distant from New York, 317, from Albany, 172 miles. The land rises
gently from the Cayuga and Seneca lakes, and the whole county is pleasantly diversified with hills and vales. The soil
is well adapted to the culture of grain, grasses, and fruit trees, being principally a vegetable mould or calcareous
loam. There is no stream of importance excepting the outlet of the Seneca lake, which from Waterloo to Seneca lake
furnishes much hydraulic power. The lands of this county formed part of the military tract, and the titles therefore are
derived from the state through patents to the soldiers of the revolution. The Erie canal just touches upon the NE. part,
in the town of Tyre. The railroad passes through the towns of Waterloo and Seneca Falls. The county is divided into 10
towns. (Historical Collections of the State of New York, Past and Present, John Barber, Clark Albien & Co., 1851)
Before the Revolutionary War, the area now covered by Seneca County was the home of the Cayuga and Seneca
Indians. The boundary line was between the village of Waterloo and Seneca Lake. The first in-depth historical data
on the area can be found in the journals of the men of the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition. The men entered the region
September 3, 1779. They traveled along the east shore of Seneca Lake to Canada-saga, now Geneva. Although no more
than 40 people died as a result of the expedition, the destruction of the Indian villages and farms was so complete
that it helped drastically to strengthen the position of the Americans at war.
Full History at NYSAC
According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 391 square miles (1,011 km2), of which, 325
square miles (842 km2) of it is land and 66 square miles (170 km2) of it (16.80%) is water.
Seneca County is in the western part of New York State in the Finger Lakes Region, bounded on the east by Cayuga Lake and on the west by Seneca Lake.
The Finger Lakes National Forest is in the south part of the county.
Both the New York State Thruway and the Erie Canal cross the northern part of the county.
The former Seneca Army Depot occupies a portion of land between Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. The Willard Drug Treatment Center and Five Points Correctional Facility are two NYS DOCS prisons located in the county. Sampson State Park is located next to the former Army base.
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