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Auburn, New York
North side of Genesee Street in downtown Auburn
North side of Genesee Street in downtown Auburn
Prison City
Location in Cayuga County and the state of New York.
Location in Cayuga County and the state of New York.
Auburn, New York is located in New York
Auburn, New York
Auburn, New York
Location in New York
Auburn, New York is located in the United States
Auburn, New York
Auburn, New York
Location in the United States
Auburn, New York is located in North America
Auburn, New York
Auburn, New York
Location in North America
Country United States
State New York
County Cayuga
Incorporated 1815 (village)
1848 (city)
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Total 8.41 sq mi (21.78 km2)
 • Land 8.34 sq mi (21.59 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2)
686 ft (209 m)
 • Total 26,866
 • Density 3,194.5/sq mi (1,233.52/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 315
FIPS code 36-011-03078
GNIS feature ID 0942692

Auburn is a city in Cayuga County, New York, United States, located at the north end of Owasco Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, in Central New York. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 26,866. As the largest city of Cayuga County, it is the county seat, and the site of the maximum-security Auburn Correctional Facility, as well as the William H. Seward House Museum and the house of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.


Bruce, William - Auburn, New York (1909)
Auburn, New York (1909), by William Bruce (1861–1911)
Auburn Works No. 1, Auburn, N.Y LCCN2007663994 crop
The Auburn Works in 1907
State Street from Genesee Street, Auburn, NY
State Street in 1910

The region around Auburn had been Haudenosaunee territory for centuries before European contact and historical records.

Auburn was founded in 1793, during the post-Revolutionary period of settlement of western New York. The founder, John L. Hardenbergh, was a veteran of the Sullivan-Clinton campaign against the Iroquois during the American Revolution. Hardenbergh settled in the vicinity of the Owasco River with his infant daughter and two African-American slaves, Harry and Kate Freeman. After his death in 1806, Hardenbergh was buried in Auburn's North Street Cemetery, and was re-interred in 1852 in Fort Hill Cemetery – the first burial in the city's newly opened burial ground. The community grew up around Hardenbergh's gristmill and sawmill.

Originally known as Hardenbergh's Corners in the town of Aurelius, the settlement was renamed Auburn in 1805 when it became the county seat. It became an incorporated village in 1815, and was chartered as a city in 1848. It was only a few miles from the Erie Canal, which opened in 1825 and allowed local factories to inexpensively ship goods north or south. In 1871, the Southern Central Railroad, financed by the Lehigh Valley Railroad, completed a line primarily to carry coal from Athens, Pennsylvania, through Auburn to wharves on Lake Ontario at Fair Haven.

From 1818 to 1939, Auburn was home to Auburn Theological Seminary, once one of the preeminent theological seminaries in the United States. In 1939, facing financial difficulties as a result of the Great Depression, the seminary moved to the campus of Union Theological Seminary in New York City. The only building from the Auburn Theological Seminary that stands today is Willard Memorial Chapel and the adjacent Welch Memorial Hall on Nelson Street, designed by Andrew Jackson Warner of Rochester, with stained-glass windows and interior decoration by Louis Comfort Tiffany. It is the only complete and unaltered Tiffany chapel interior known to exist.

In 1816, Auburn Prison (now the Auburn Correctional Facility) was founded as a model for the contemporary ideas about treating prisoners, known now as the Auburn system. Visitors were charged a fee for viewing the facility and its inmates. In 1901 Leon Czolgosz, assassin of President William McKinley, was executed there. Although the ideas of the Auburn System have been abandoned, the prison continues to serve as a maximum security facility, and is one of the most secure prisons in the continental United States.


Auburn is located at the north end of Owasco Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, which is drained by the Owasco Outlet – also known as the Owasco River – which runs north through the city on its way to the Seneca River. A dam, owned and operated by the city, controls the outflow of the lake, which is used for drinking water and recreation. The city is required to keep a sufficient amount of water in the river to deal with the effluent from its waste disposal treatment facility.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.4 square miles (21.8 km2), of which 8.3 square miles (21.6 km2) is land and 0.08 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.89%, is water.

US 20 is an important east-west highway passing through the city, and New York State Route 34 and New York State Route 38 are north-south highways that intersect US-20 in Auburn. Seneca Falls is 15 miles (24 km) west on US 20, and Syracuse is 26 miles (42 km) to the northeast via New York State Route 5.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Auburn has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.

AuburnPrisonFront crop
Auburn Correctional Facility


Auburn City Hall Auburn
Auburn Memorial City Hall (2012)
Historical population
Census Pop.
1810 500
1820 2,333 366.6%
1830 4,486 92.3%
1840 5,626 25.4%
1850 9,548 69.7%
1860 10,986 15.1%
1870 17,225 56.8%
1880 21,924 27.3%
1890 25,858 17.9%
1900 30,345 17.4%
1910 34,668 14.2%
1920 36,192 4.4%
1930 36,652 1.3%
1940 35,753 −2.5%
1950 36,722 2.7%
1960 35,249 −4.0%
1970 34,599 −1.8%
1980 32,548 −5.9%
1990 31,258 −4.0%
2000 28,574 −8.6%
2010 27,687 −3.1%
2020 26,866 −3.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 28,574 people, 11,411 households, and 6,538 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,405.3 people per square mile (1,315.0/km2). There were 12,637 housing units at an average density of 1,506.0 per square mile (581.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.57% White, 7.59% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.41% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.82% of the population.

There were 11,411 households, out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no partner present, and 42.7% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.8% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 30.3% from 25 to 44, 19.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,281, and the median income for a family was $41,169. Males had a median income of $32,349 versus $23,330 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,083. About 12.5% of families and 16.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.9% of those under age 18 and 10.2% of those age 65 or over.

Places of historic interest

A number of properties in Auburn are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the Auburn Button Works and Logan Silk Mills, the Belt-Gaskin House, Case Memorial-Seymour Library, the Cayuga County Courthouse and Clerk's Office, the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, William and Mary Hosmer House, St. Peter's Episcopal Church Complex, Sand Beach Church, Schines Auburn Theatre, Thompson AME Zion Church, Harriet Tubman Grave, Harriet Tubman House, the Old Post Office and Courthouse, Wall Street Methodist Episcopal Church, and Dr. Sylvester Willard Mansion. The William H. Seward House and Willard Memorial Chapel-Welch Memorial Hall are National Historic Landmarks, and the South Street Area Historic District is a national historic district.

Business and economy

  • D&W Performance (1976), performance engine and drivetrain component distributor.


Auburn Doubledays game Falcon Park Auburn
An Auburn Doubledays game (2012)

Professional baseball

Auburn has had a long association with professional baseball. The Auburn Cayugas and other early Auburn teams played as members of the League Alliance (1877), Central New York League (1888), New York State League (1889, 1897–1899), Empire State League (1906–1907), Canadian–American League (1938, 1940) and Border League (1946–1951). Auburn was an affiliate of the Boston Red Sox (1948).

Today, Auburn is home to the Auburn Doubledays, members on the collegiate wooden bat Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues

In late 1901, Auburn became the headquarters of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (NAPBL), which is now known simply as Minor League Baseball and based in St. Petersburg, Florida. John H. Farrell, who served as secretary-treasurer of the league for many years, was a local resident, and the league's offices remained in the city while he remained in that role.

Auburn Community Baseball

Auburn Community Baseball, which is owned by the City of Auburn, is the parent organization of the Auburn Doubledays and its predecessor Auburn entries in the Class A short-season New York–Penn League dating back to 1958. The team plays its home games at Leo Pinckney Field at Falcon Park. Until 2020 they were members of the New York-Penn League.

The Great Race

Since 1978, on the second Sunday of every August, Auburn hosts "The Great Race", a three- or four-person relay race involving running, cycling, and canoeing (or kayaking). The race begins and ends in the area of Owasco Lake on the southern outskirts of Auburn. With between 2,000 and 2,500 people participating in an average year, it is one of the largest relay races in the United States.


The Auburn Enlarged City School District is the public school system serving Auburn. It currently operates seven schools covering grades K–12. West Middle School was closed over the summer of 2011 to save funds, with the student population merged into East Middle School.

The only college in Auburn is Cayuga Community College, a two-year school. C.C.C., as it is known locally, is located on Franklin Street. The city had been the home of Auburn Theological Seminary, a Presbyterian institution established in 1818, which relocated to New York City in 1939.

Notable people

William H. Seward
William H. Seward House (2012)
Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman House (2007)
Cayuga County Court House Auburn
Cayuga County Court House
Post Office and Federal Court House Auburn
Old Post Office and Federal Courthouse
Case Memorial-Seymour Library May 09
Case Memorial-Seymour Library
Schines Auburn Theatre Auburn
Schines Auburn Theatre
St Peters Episcopal Church Complex May 09
Saints Peter and John Episcopal Church
Museumfront web
Cayuga Museum of History and Art

Possibly the two best-known historical figures associated with Auburn are Harriet Tubman and William H. Seward.

Seward, who served as a New York state senator, the governor of New York, a U.S. senator, a presidential candidate, and then Secretary of State under presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, in which role he negotiated the 1867 purchase from Russia of Alaska, which became known as "Seward's Folly" – lived in Auburn from 1823 until his death in 1872, and was opposed to slavery. Seward's wife, Frances Adeline Seward, was deeply committed to the abolitionist movement, which was strongly supported in Auburn. In the 1850s, the Seward family opened their Auburn home as a safehouse to fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad. In 1859 Seward sold a plot of land to abolitionist Tubman, who used it to create a safe haven for her family and friends and other black Americans seeking a better life in the north. Seward's house is now a historical museum, and both it and Tubman's house are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Business and inventors

  • Willard Bundy, invented first time clock
  • Theodore Case, developed the first commercially successful system of recording sound on film
  • Jerome H. Holland, first African-American board member of the American Stock Exchange
  • Birdsill Holly, supposed inventor of the fire hydrant
  • Phil Romano, restaurateur, founder of Fuddruckers and Romano's Macaroni Grill


  • Abner Doubleday, general; for many years credited as the creator of baseball
  • Leonard E. Rea, major general in the Marine Corps during World War II
  • William H. Seward Jr., brevet brigadier general
  • William J. Sharkey, naval officer
  • Robert F. Stryker, Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient

Sports, arts, and entertainment

  • Eric Adams (real name Louis Marullo), Manowar singer
  • Samuel Hopkins Adams, author
  • Kelly Brannigan, model (Deal or No Deal)
  • John Chester Buttre, artist and publisher of The American Portrait Gallery
  • Scott Columbus, Manowar drummer
  • Earl Conrad (birth name Eli Cohen), journalist, author
  • Richard and John Contiguglia, twin pianists
  • Joey DeMaio, Manowar bassist
  • Greg Downing, lacrosse player
  • Charles Loring Elliott, portrait painter
  • Joey Foster Ellis, artist
  • Buddy Hardeman, football running back
  • Raymond Hitchcock, actor
  • Mark Jindrak, ex-WWE wrestler
  • Joe Kehoskie, baseball agent
  • Bucky Lawless, boxer (real name Thomas Lawless)
  • Tim Locastro, Major League Baseball player
  • John, Mike, and Tom Mansell, major league baseball players
  • Marijane Meaker, award-winning author of young adult fiction (as "M.E. Kerr")
  • Pete Mendillo, Musician, Drummer : Toured and recorded with Survivor, Jimi Jamison, Dick Wagner, Savoy Brown, Brian Howe, Brad Whitford, Mickey Thomas and Starship. Bobby Kimball (Toto)
  • T. J. Middleton, tennis player
  • Jeremy Morin, NHL player
  • Bob Mosher, TV and film writer
  • Jerry O'Neil, NASCAR driver
  • Jane Peyton, actress wife of Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • Kevin Polcovich, Major League Baseball player
  • Julius Schweinfurth, architect
  • Stanley Shakespeare, NFL player
  • Sir James Jebusa Shannon, artist
  • Alexander Theobald Van Laer, painter
  • John Walsh, host of America's Most Wanted and The Hunt with John Walsh
  • Thommie Walsh, dancer, choreographer and director


See also

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