Essex, New York
The Octagonal Schoolhouse in the hamlet of Boquet
|• Type||Town Council|
|• Town Supervisor||Edward J. Gardner|
|• Town Council|
|• Total||37.6 sq mi (97.4 km2)|
|• Land||31.6 sq mi (81.9 km2)|
|• Water||6.0 sq mi (15.5 km2)|
|Elevation||266 ft (81 m)|
|• Density||21/sq mi (8.2/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0978946|
The town is on the eastern edge of the county. It is 17 miles (27 km) south-southwest of Burlington, Vermont, which is on the opposite shore of Lake Champlain, 32 miles (51 km) south of Plattsburgh, 94 miles (151 km) south of Montreal, Quebec, and 135 miles (217 km) north of Albany, New York. Essex is inside the Adirondack Park.
Essex was part of a land grant made to Louis Joseph Robart by King Louis XV of France. The land grant was lost after the British took over the region after 1763.
The region was first settled around 1765 with the intention of forming a baronial estate like those of the lower Hudson River for landowner and investor, William Gilliland.
The town was formed from a part of the town of Willsboro in 1805. It was an important shipbuilding location and port, but that economy collapsed after 1849 with the beginning of railroad lines in the region.
The Essex Village Historic District, Foothills Baptist Church, and the Octagonal Schoolhouse are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.6 square miles (97.4 km2), of which 31.6 square miles (81.9 km2) is land and 6.0 square miles (15.5 km2), or 15.88%, is water.
New York State Route 22 is a north-south highway in Essex.
As of the census of 2000, there were 713 people, 302 households, and 202 families residing in the town. The population density was 22.5 people per square mile (8.7/km²). There were 522 housing units at an average density of 16.5 per square mile (6.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.72% White, 0.14% Native American, and 0.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.14% of the population.
There were 302 households out of which 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.1% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.79.
In the town, the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 23.8% from 25 to 44, 29.0% from 45 to 64, and 20.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 105.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $37,596, and the median income for a family was $40,104. Males had a median income of $26,905 versus $19,583 for females. The per capita income for the town was $20,087. About 10.8% of families and 11.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.1% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those age 65 or over.
Education and culture
Most of Essex is served by Willsboro Central School District, though the Westport Central School District is also used. Additionally some travel across Lake Champlain to Vermont or drive north to Plattsburgh for private school.
For twenty years the Essex Theatre Company, located near the ferry dock in the Masonic Lodge, has continuously produced stage plays and broadway musicals for summertime enjoyment - and also occasional winter entertainment programs.
The entire town is situated among quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants, including the newly renovated Essex Inn. Most notable for their placement on the National Register of Historic Places, the entire town is included on the Registry.
Periodically there are adult education programs, such as a history lecture series, at the Whallonsburgh Grange.
Air service transport is provided by Plattsburgh International Airport (30 miles to north), and Burlington International Airport (across the lake via the ferry in Essex, to Burlington, Vermont). Both are within easy driving distance. Burlington International Airport serves international customers, and Plattsburgh International Airport serves regional and national carriers.
Ferry service between Essex and Charlotte, Vermont, is provided by the Lake Champlain Transportation Company. This became a year-round route in 1998.
This route is used by many residents for access to medical care, jobs, school, and shopping. While most years in the past decade the ferry service has run year-round, the ice-breaking ferries usually used on this route were redeployed to Crown Point to fill in for the Champlain Bridge which was demolished in 2009.
The first ferry service in Essex began operation around 1790.
- See also: Westport (Amtrak station)
Access to medical care
Essex is in a rural area in the Adirondack Park, so most of its access to medical care is via the ferry operated by Lake Champlain Transportation. The nearest emergency room is Elizabethtown Community Hospital, a 25-bed rural hospital with eighteen on its active medical staff, which is a 17-mile (27 km) drive. Further away, accessible via 20-minute ferry and a significant drive, is the emergency room of Fletcher Allen Hospital, a large, full-service hospital affiliated with the University of Vermont. An important fully staffed hospital and full-service emergency room is at CVPH Medical Center, in Plattsburgh, approximately 35 miles (56 km) to the north.
Communities and locations in Essex
- Beggs Point – Small point in the hamlet of Essex. Horseshoe nail and window sash factories were located here before burning down in the early 1900s. Now the town park with playground, fishing pier and boat launch. Sunrise religious services for Easter.
- Boquet River – Its southern branch flows northward through the western portion of the town.
- Boquet (formally West Essex or Wessex) – A hamlet on NY-22 west of Essex.
- Brookfield – A former hamlet in the western part of Essex settled in 1797 by mostly Morris County, New Jersey, and Dutchess County, New York, farmers and bloomers. Cemetery still exists.
- Bluff Point – A point in the southeast portion of Essex hamlet. Lake depth drops to 100 feet (30 m) off the cliff.
- Bull Run – The hill on south Main Street traveling into Essex hamlet.
- Crooked S Hill – The hill west of Boquet after crossing the river. Named from the appearance of Jersey Street (County Road 12) as it twists up the hill.
- Grog Harbor – A shallow bay between Bluff Point and Cannon Point. Named when liquor smugglers had to dump their cargo.
- Canon Point – A shallow projection into Lake Champlain at Craterclub.
- Crater Club – A hamlet on the shore of Lake Champlain, south of Essex hamlet on County Road 9.
- Essex (formerly "Elizabeth") – The hamlet of Essex on the shore of Lake Champlain at the junction of NY-22 and County Road 9. The hamlet is the location of the town government and is a ferry port to Vermont. The village was the first county seat of Essex County when it was formed in 1799 until 1807, when Elizabethtown became the county seat. It was founded about 1765. The Essex Village Historic District encompasses many of the historic buildings.
- Essex Station (also known as Merriam Station) – A location southwest of Essex hamlet on NY-22.
- Sandy Beach – A private small sand beach in the northeast part of Essex hamlet.
- Split Rock Point – The easternmost extension of the town into Lake Champlain.
- Whallonsburg – A hamlet in the south part of the town on NY-22. It was founded about 1770. before a fire in the early 1900s, the hamlet produced furniture and other wood products. The Essex County Home and Farm was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
- Whallons Bay – A bay of Lake Champlain in the southwest part of Essex. The town beach is located here. Governor Pataki owns a home in Whallon's Bay.
Essex, New York Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.