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Owego Village

Tioga County, New York

Owego Village Hall is located at 178 Main Street, Owego NY 13827.
Phone: 607‑687‑3555.


Beginnings [1]

The Village of Owego is located in the Town of Owego in the southeast corner of Tioga County and has a 2000 Census population of 3,911 persons. Although not officially incorporated until 1827, it has served as the County Seat of Tioga County since 1822.

The original Native American population consisted of the Cayuga and Onondaga tribes of the Iroquois Confederacy. They called this area AhWaGa, "Where the Valley Widens", and found the banks of the Susquehanna River fertile ground. This fertile ground also drew the community's first settlers, James McMaster in 1785 and Amos Draper in 1787. Others soon joined them and the community of Owego grew, nestled between "Beecher Hill" to the north and east and the Susquehanna River and Owego Creek to the south and west. The center of the community developed a short distance east of Owego Creek. The river provided the primary means of access to the settlement until 1808 when the Owego-Ithaca Road was finished and Owego attained a position of prominence among the growing trade villages of the area.

Over the years, the Village continued to develop along the north bank of the Susquehanna River. Industrial concerns, including a sawmill, were located along the River, while commercial activity was centered one block north on Main Street. Ferries provided access across the river until the first bridge was built in 1828. That original bridge has been replaced four times since the last being in 1933. The most recent bridge was newly constructed in 2003. A large fire in the early1900's destroyed many buildings along the waterfront, and much of what is now known as "River Row" on Front Street was constructed after that time.

As aforementioned, Owego has been the County Seat since the early 1800's. This further bolstered Owego's prominence as the economic and governmental center of the County and impacted the development of the commercial center of the community. In 1797, James McMaster deeded approximately three acres of land to the "trustees of Owego settlement" for a public ground. This tract of land is now known as Courthouse Park, and stretches from the river to Main Street. It is flanked by Court and Park Streets. In 1823 the first Courthouse was built on this site. It was torn down in 1870 and replaced by the current Courthouse, constructed in 1872. It is the oldest functioning Courthouse in New York State and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Park, the Courthouse, other nearby governmental buildings, and historical monuments combine to create a prominent and dignified entrance to the Village and the downtown. Other former and current County buildings are located in nearby areas of the Village.

Manufacturing and industry grew and the community continued to thrive through the 19th and 20th centuries. The Village's downtown commercial center grew in response to this economic prosperity and large ornate two, three, and four story commercial buildings of varying architectural styles were constructed along Front, Lake, and Main Street and the first block of North Avenue.

  1. Village of Owego, 2003 Consolidated Master Plan, www.villageofowego.com, accessed January 2009