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New York Counties

There are 62 counties in the State of New York. The first twelve counties in New York were created immediately after the British annexation of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although two of these counties have since been abolished. The most recent county formation in New York was in 1912, when Bronx County was created from the portions of New York City that had been annexed from Westchester County. New York's counties are named for a variety of Native American words, British provinces, cities, and royalty, early American statesmen and generals, and state politicians.
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Seneca County, New York

Seneca County Education, Geography, and History

County Seat: Waterloo
Year Organized: 1804
Square Miles: 325
Court House:

1 DiPronio Drive
County Office Building
Waterloo, NY 13165-1680

Etymology - Origin of County Name

from the Indian tribe that once occupied the region


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

County History

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.

Neighboring Counties:

  • Cayuga County, New York - east
  • Tompkins County, New York - southeast
  • Schuyler County, New York - south
  • Yates County, New York - west
  • Ontario County, New York - west
  • Wayne County, New York - northwest


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