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Watkins Glen, New York facts for kids

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Watkins Glen, New York
Franklin Street in Watkins Glen
Franklin Street in Watkins Glen
Watkins Glen, New York is located in New York
Watkins Glen, New York
Watkins Glen, New York
Location in New York
Watkins Glen, New York is located in the United States
Watkins Glen, New York
Watkins Glen, New York
Location in the United States
Country United States
State New York
County Schuyler
Settled 1791; 232 years ago (1791)
Named 1842; 181 years ago (1842)
as Jefferson
Named 1852; 171 years ago (1852)
as Watkins Glen
 • Total 1.94 sq mi (5.03 km2)
 • Land 1.56 sq mi (4.04 km2)
 • Water 0.38 sq mi (0.99 km2)
463 ft (141 m)
 • Total 1,859
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,200.77/sq mi (463.62/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 607
FIPS code 36-78696
GNIS feature ID 0974082

Watkins Glen is a village in and the county seat of Schuyler County, New York, United States. as of the 2020 census, the population was 1,838. Watkins Glen lies within the towns of Dix and Reading. To the southwest of the village is the world-renowned Watkins Glen International race track, which hosts annual NASCAR Cup Series and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship races, and formerly hosted the Formula One United States Grand Prix and various IndyCar races.


The first settlement of European peoples in the area began circa 1800. Watkins Glen was the northern terminus of the Chemung Canal, started in 1830 and completed in 1833, connecting Seneca Lake to the Chemung River. Catharine Creek, flowing into the lake through the village, was used to help create the canal. The village was incorporated in 1842 as Salubria, then Jefferson, but was renamed Watkins after Dr. Samuel Watkins, for his contributions to the community. The current name Watkins Glen was adopted in 1926.

For the first half of the 20th century, the village was primarily known as the site of Glen Springs Sanitarium, one of the leading spas in the United States.

In 2006 Charles R. Mitchell and Kirk W. House produced a historic photo book, Around Watkins Glen, in the Arcadia Publishing "Images of America" series.

The A. F. Chapman House, First Baptist Church of Watkins Glen, Schuyler County Courthouse Complex, St. James Episcopal Church, United States Post Office, Watkins Glen Commercial Historic District, Watkins Glen Grand Prix Course, 1948-1952, and Watkins Glen High School are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Watkins Glen State Park pano 6
Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen is located at 42°22′52″N 76°52′16″W / 42.38111°N 76.87111°W / 42.38111; -76.87111 (42.380984, -76.871079).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2). 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) of the village is land and 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2) of it (17.41%) is water.

New York State Route 14 joins New York State Route 79 and New York State Route 414 by Watkins Glen. NY-14 is one of the principal streets in Watkins Glen village. New York State Route 329 and New York State Route 409 lead into Watkins Glen from the west.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 2,039
1880 2,716 33.2%
1890 2,604 −4.1%
1900 2,943 13.0%
1910 2,817 −4.3%
1920 2,785 −1.1%
1930 2,956 6.1%
1940 2,913 −1.5%
1950 3,052 4.8%
1960 2,813 −7.8%
1970 2,716 −3.4%
1980 2,440 −10.2%
1990 2,207 −9.5%
2000 2,149 −2.6%
2010 1,859 −13.5%
2019 (est.) 1,872 0.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,859 people, 873 households, and 442 families residing in the village. The population density was 845 per square mile (326.25/km2). There were 977 housing units at an average density of 444 per square mile (168.4/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 96.2% White, 0.50% African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.70% from other races, and 1.70% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.40% of the population.

There were 873 households, out of which 22.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.70% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.40% were non-families. 42.40% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the village, the age distribution of the population was spread out, with 22.70% under the age of 20, 5.40% from 20 to 24, and 31.80% from 25 to 50 and 17.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.20 years old. The Village of Watkins Glen had 866 male residents, and 993 female residents.

The median income for a household in the village was $34,969 and the median income for a family was $55,357. Males had a median income of $37,885 versus $29,000 for females. The per capita income for the village was $24,116. 5.0% of the population and 1.70% of families were living below the poverty line. 3.6% of those under the age of 18 and 6.80% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Notable events and attractions

Seneca Lake from Watkins Glen July 2017
Seneca Lake from Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen State Park

Watkins Glen State Park is a 778-acre park with a 400-foot-deep (120 m) narrow gorge featuring 19 waterfalls over a span of less than two miles. It is considered a "flagship" park by the State of New York.

Auto racing at Watkins Glen

Cars drive through the Esses during the 2014 Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen
The Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International

Watkins Glen is noted for its role in auto racing, being the home of a street course used in road racing, a famous racetrack, Watkins Glen International, one of the premier automobile road racing tracks in the United States, which has hosted the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen, IndyCar Series Grand Prix at The Glen, and the IMSA SportsCar Championship 6 Hours of Watkins Glen. The first Watkins Glen Sports Car Grand Prix was held in 1948 on public streets in and near the village. Organized by local resident Cameron Argetsinger, it was the first post-WWII road race held in the United States and it marked the revival of American road racing.

A permanent racing facility, the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Race Course opened in 1956. It has hosted nearly every type of road racing, from the Sahlen's 6 Hours of Watkins Glen (1948-current), the Formula One United States Grand Prix (1961–1980), and the I Love New York 355 at The Glen (1957-current), which was one of the few races on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule not conducted on an oval speedway, the other being Sonoma Raceway until NASCAR added more road courses to the Cup Series schedule.

International Motor Racing Research Center

International Motor Racing Research Center
International Motor Racing Research Center

The International Motor Racing Research Center, a professional archive of motorsports history, opened in June 1999 in an annex of the Watkins Glen Public Library. The mission of the center is to preserve and share the history of motorsports around the world.

Personal Watercraft racing at Watkins Glen

Since 2014, Watkins Glen has hosted a weekend of IJSBA (International Jet Sports Boating Association) closed course racing, and has become one of the largest race venues in the sport today. Originally promoted in Region 8 by NEWA (North East Watercraft Alliance), until 2016 when East Coast Watercross purchased the series, racing has been at Clute Memorial Park and Campground, and is typically the last weekend in August. The event has always been free to spectators, and features both closed course racing and freestyle competition using standup, sit-down, and sport class machines.

1973 Summer Jam at Watkins Glen rock festival

The racetrack was also the scene of the July 28, 1973 Summer Jam at Watkins Glen rock festival attended by an estimated 600,000 people, one-and-a-half times the crowd at 1969's historic Woodstock Festival and a world record for the largest number of people at a pop music festival. The concert featured The Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, and The Band. The music started at noon Saturday and continued long into Sunday. The bands played in their normal make-up and continued as members drifted in and out for many hours afterward.

Phish festivals

On July 1–3 of 2011, the band Phish hosted Superball IX, a three-day music festival on the same grounds of the Summer Jam of '73. On August 21–23 of 2015, Phish hosted their 10th festival, Magnaball, on the grounds. Phish planned to return to Watkins Glen for their 11th festival, Curveball, on August 17–19, 2018 but was forced to cancel when their permit was revoked due to floods contaminating the local water supply.

True Love schooner

Watkins Glen is the home port for True Love, a schooner built in 1926 that was featured in High Society (1956).

Farm animal protection movement

Farm Sanctuary's headquarters in Watkins Glen
Schuyler County Courthouse, Watkins Glen, New York State
Schuyler County Courthouse in Watkins Glen

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Watkins Glen (Nueva York) para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Legendary Hispanic musicians
Carlos Santana
Ricky Martin
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