kids encyclopedia robot

Old Forge, New York facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Old Forge, New York
Tourist souvenir shop in Old Forge, 1973
Tourist souvenir shop in Old Forge, 1973
Old Forge, New York is located in New York
Old Forge, New York
Old Forge, New York
Location in New York
Old Forge, New York is located in the United States
Old Forge, New York
Old Forge, New York
Location in the United States
Country United States
State New York
County Herkimer
Town Webb
Settled 1798
Incorporated October 1903
Dissolved March 31, 1936
 • Total 1.97 sq mi (5.09 km2)
 • Land 1.79 sq mi (4.63 km2)
 • Water 0.18 sq mi (0.46 km2)
1,857 ft (566 m)
 • Total 756
 • Density 423/sq mi (163.4/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 315
FIPS code 36-54639
GNIS feature ID 2631633

Old Forge is a hamlet (and census-designated place) on New York State Route 28 in the town of Webb in Herkimer County, New York, United States. The population was 756 at the 2010 census. Old Forge was formerly a village but dissolved its incorporation in 1936, but it remains the principal community in the region. As one of the western gateway communities of the Adirondack Park, Old Forge forms an extensive business district, primarily directed at tourism especially during the summer months. The local school is the Town of Webb UFSD, a K–12 institution with the Eskimo as their mascot. Old Forge often records the lowest winter temperatures in New York. On February 17, 1979, the record low temperature for New York was set in Old Forge at −52 °F (−47 °C).


Herreshoff House, Old Forge NY
Herreshoff House in 1895

In 1798 the 210,000 acres (85,000 ha) area including Old Forge came into possession of the Brown family of Rhode Island, through a transaction involving Aaron Burr. John Francis Brown built a 25 miles (40 km) wagon trail from Remsen and attempted to settle about 20 families in the area. The land was unsuitable for farming, these attempts failed, and the area was abandoned by 1803.

In 1811 John Brown's son-in-law Charles Frederick Herreshoff moved to the area and attempted to raise sheep, opened an iron mine, and built the first forge. These ventures again failed, and Herreshoff committed suicide in 1819. A few settlers remained, including Nat Foster, said to be the inspiration for James Fenimore Cooper's character of "Natty Bumppo."

The railroad was built in 1888, originally horse-drawn with wooden rails. Before the railroad was completed the plans were changed to use steam power rather than horses. A station was constructed at nearby Thendara.

Old Forge was incorporated as a village in October 1903. The incorporation would be short lived as residents voted to dissolve the village on July 11, 1933, 117 to 96, due to the high cost of government operations. A second vote for the final dissolution plan took place on October 21, 1933, also in favor. The New York Supreme Court, 5th Judicial District, would hand down a court order three months later suspending the dissolution process due to a lawsuit claiming the special election in October being deemed illegal based on taxpayer and distribution factors within the plan. After an appeal to the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Fourth Department, the Village of Old Forge was officially able to dissolve on March 31, 1936.


Enchanted Forest Water Safari is New York's largest water theme park. It has 50 rides and attractions, including 32 water slides, as well as shops, restaurants, photographers, and a circus show.

Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company offers everything you need for the Outdoors: Canoes, Kayaks, SUPs (stand-up paddleboards) & Bike Sales and Rentals, as well as quality clothing and camping gear.

The Goodsell House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Many peaks can be seen from the village, including McCauley Mountain, home of McCauley Mountain Ski Resort. With a 633-foot vertical drop, McCauley also boasts 21 ski trails of 3,000-5,000 ft, one double chairlift, two T-bar and two rope tows. As Old Forge is frequently affected by lake effect snow, and with 65% snowmaking capabilities, McCauley averages a base of 120+ inches and 105 days of skiing.

Snowfall totals also contribute to the areas other primary winter draw, snowmobiling. Dubbed the "Snowmobile Capital of the East", Old Forge controls primary access to more than 500 miles of groomed trails. These trails, combined with operative sidewalk and limited street use, often ridable frozen lakes (especially the adjoining Fulton Chain of Lakes, and connection to other large trail systems, offer substantial area for the sport.

Airport and dam

The Old Forge Airport is a small grass field airport that is just one mile north of the actual town. There are two runways. The airport is unattended and is privately owned. Permission must be obtained before landing. The Old Forge Dam is a small dam separating the Fulton Chain of Lakes and the Moose River.

Geography and climate

Old Forge is located at 43°42′23″N 74°58′09″W / 43.706401°N 74.969122°W / 43.706401; -74.969122. It lies within the Adirondack Mountains, a southern extension of the Canadian Shield and an important geologic feature of New York. As with any settlement in Adirondack Park, development both inside and outside the hamlet of Old Forge is somewhat restricted and land use policies set forth by the Adirondack Park Agency must be observed.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 2.0 square miles (5.2 km2), of which, 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) of it (10.00%) is water.

The primary highway passing through Old Forge is New York State Route 28. Old Forge lies along the Moose River at the western end of the Fulton Chain of Lakes.

Climate data for Old Forge, New York (1971–2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 59
Average high °F (°C) 25.1
Average low °F (°C) 2.2
Record low °F (°C) −46
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.15
Snowfall inches (cm) 56.8
T 0
T 3.3
Avg. precipitation days 19.1 14.5 15.6 13.6 14.1 13.6 12.2 12.8 13.0 14.1 17.2 18.7 178.5
Avg. snowy days 17.1 13.1 11.8 5.1 1.0 0 0 0 0 2.3 9.4 15.3 75.1
Source: TWC


As of the census of 2010, there were 756 people, 371 households, and 208 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 420.0 people per square mile (260.7/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.0% White, 0.4% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.

There were 371 households, out of which 19.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 5.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.9% were non-families. 38.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.04 and the average family size was 2.67.

In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 19.0% under the age of 20, 5.2% from 20 to 24, 19.5% from 25 to 44, 37.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.9 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.2 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $32,539, and the median income for a family was $62,708. Males had a median income of $32,750 versus $31,761 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $26,662. About 3.3% of families and 10.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.0% of those under age 18 and 10.6% of those age 65 or over.


There were 778 housing units at an average density of 432.2 per square mile (165.5/km2). 407 units, or 52.3%, were vacant, of which 351 were for seasonal or recreational use.

There were 371 occupied housing units in the CDP. 231 were owner-occupied units (61.3%), while 140 were renter-occupied (37.7%). The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.1% of total units. The rental unit vacancy rate was 18.1%.


New York Route 28, running northeast–southwest, the commercial center of the village.

Old Forge Airport, a private use airport is one mile north of Old Forge.

Until 1965, the New York Central Railroad ran passenger service to Thendara station, two miles to the southwest.

Notable people

Old Forge has been home, or at least the summer residence, to many notable people, including former presidents, Olympic athletes, World Cup skiers, and a pioneering female physician.

  • Lowell Bailey: U.S. Olympic Athlete in Biathlon and World Cup Skier, resided and learned to ski as a youth in Old Forge.
  • Catherine D. DeAngelis: pediatrician and first woman to serve as editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association
  • Louie Ehrensbeck: U.S. Olympic Athlete in Biathlon
  • Patrick Farmer: NCAA and Professional Women's Soccer Coach
  • Erin Hamlin: U.S. Olympic Athlete in Luge
  • Benjamin Harrison: 23rd President of the United States built a summer camp named Berkley Lodge
  • Chantelle Heroux: X Games Skicross skier, Director and Founder of "Bridge to Skate"
  • Hank Kashiwa: US National Ski Champion, U.S. Olympic Skier, and Sports Commentator
  • Maddie Phaneuf: U.S. Olympic Athlete in Biathlon
  • Dan Stripp: U.S. World Cup Skier and former U.S. Women's Ski Team Coach.
  • Sandy Stripp Tetreault: U.S. Foot-Orienteering and World Ski Orienteering Champion
  • Gary Vaughn: U.S. Olympic Athlete in Alpine Skiing
  • Alexandra Waterbury: model and ballet dancer
kids search engine
Old Forge, New York Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.