History of the Town of Bath, NY

Charles Williamson purchased 1,200,000 acres of land on April 11, 1792 from Robert Morris who had purchased the tract of land commonly known as the Pulteney Estate in western New York, from Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham in 1790.  Mr. Williamson renounced his British citizenship in 1792 and became a United States citizen, thus able to own property in America. Mr. Williamson built a mansion called Springfield Farm near Lake Salubria in Bath.  Charles Williamson died in 1808 and the farm “passed into other hands.”

Industries in Bath Through the Years

Agriculture has played an important part in the economy of Bath through the years.  The Steuben County Fair, formed in 1819 and located in the Village of Bath, is noted to be the longest continuously running fair in the United States.  Lumbering and sawmills also played an important role in the development of Bath.

Babcock Ladder Company was founded in 1905 by William Wallace Babcock.  Lane Pipe Corporation was established in 1934 by Raymond T Lane.  In April 1951 Westinghouse Electric Corp was planned for a 73 acre site on State Route 54, Bath.  In 1982 notice was received that North American Phillips planned to purchase the Westinghouse plant.

Bath has been the location of a Soldiers & Sailors’ Home/Veterans’ Administration Center since 1877 when the cornerstone was laid for the first building of the New York State Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home and on Christmas Day 1878, 25 Civil War veterans were housed in the new facility. Since 1930 the facility has been the federal Veterans’ Administration Medical Center.

The Steuben ARC was founded in 1964 to serve area special needs individuals. Classes met in churches in Hornell, Corning and Bath until the services were moved to the Industrial Park in January 1981.

Demographics of the Town of Bath

In 1796 Steuben County was established with Bath as the county seat.

The Town of Bath is situated in the Cohocton Valley in Steuben County.  The southern boundary of Steuben County borders Pennsylvania.  The first town meeting to elect officers was held at the home of John Metcalfe April 4, 1797 with Charles Cameron being elected as the first supervisor.  One of the first duties of the town highway commissioners was to lay out road districts in the Town of Bath.

The Town of Bath is comprised of 143 miles of road.  There are two villages and two hamlets in the Town of Bath; the Villages of Bath and Savona and hamlets of Kanona and Sonora.

The Town of Bath offices are located in the Municipal Building at 110 Liberty Street, Bath.

Population in the Town of Bath as of 2000 is 12,097 with 5,641 of those residing in the Village of Bath.

Much of the information for this article was gleaned from “The Heritage of Bath, NY 1793-1993" Thomas Stackpole, Editor