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Oswego County Timeline

  • 1816 - Oswego County, population 6,500, is incorporated by the New York State Legislature.
  • 1816-51 - County Clerk alternates office between Oswego and Pulaski every three years.
  • 1819 - Pulaski Courthouse is built on Bridge Street at cost of $1,500.
  • 1822 - First Courthouse at Oswego is completed at cost of $750.
  • 1823 - Oris Hart of Oswego is first elected Sheriff of Oswego County.
  • 1824 - Hiram Hubble of Pulaski is first elected County Clerk.
  • 1841 - Unsuccessful attempt by Oswego businessmen to divide Oswego County into two counties.
  • 1847 - Unsuccessful attempt by Mexico residents to move county seat to Mexico.
  • 1851 - County Clerk's Office built at East Bridge and Second Streets, Oswego, at cost of $2,000.
  • 1852 - First County Jail built at East Second and Schuyler Streets, Oswego.
  • 1858 - Present Courthouse built in City of Oswego for $30,000. Designed by well known Syracuse architect, Horatio Nelson White. Pulaski Courthouse expanded.
  • 1869 - State Legislature requires Board of Supervisors to alternate annual meetings between Oswego and Pulaski.
  • 1887 - Pulaski Courthouse expanded.
  • 1888 - New jail completed on East Second Street. Two floors of ten cells each on turntables. State of the art jail construction; cost $30,000 including $3,000 cost of property.
  • 1895 - New Clerk's Office (County Office Building) built at East Bridge and Second Streets, Oswego at cost of $65,000. Board of Supervisors is authorized to hold all meetings in Oswego.
  • 1900-11 - New County Jail built on East River Road, Oswego; prompted by report of the Committee on the State of the Prisons that stated that there was too much difficulty with the revolving cell blocks.
  • 1912-13 - Third story added to County Office Building.
  • 1931 - Tuberculosis Sanatorium opened in Orwell.
  • 1931 - Front addition built on County Office Building in Oswego.
  • 1942 - Civil Service Commission appointed by County Board of Supervisors.
  • 1946 - County Laboratory established.
  • 1947 - Board of Supervisors establishes health camp (Camp Hollis), originally for underprivileged and undernourished children.
  • 1950 - Fire Advisory Board established, Fire Coordinator appointed.
  • 1957 - County Health Department established, TB Sanatorium at Orwell closed.
  • 1959 - Board of Supervisors adopts Oswego County Fire Mutual Aid Plan.
  • 1965 - Youth Bureau established.
  • 1968 - County takes over Fulton Municipal Airport. Fulton Branch Office Building is constructed.
  • 1972 - Oswego County Legislature meets for the first time-created because the population exceeded 100,000. In-patient mental health center is constructed. Legislature adopts solid waste management plan for county.
  • 1973 - Department of Social Services Building constructed in Mexico. Andrew Michaud Nursing Home opens in Fulton. Department of Motor Vehicles Branch opens in Pulaski.
  • 1974 - New Sheriff's Department Offices are constructed in Oswego adjacent to the Oswego County Jail. Solid waste transfer stations open in Oswego & Hastings.
  • 1975 - Legislature defeats proposed referendum to move County Seat to Mexico.
  • 1979 - Legislature adopts local law creating County Administrator.
  • 1980 - Legislature appoints County Administrator.
  • 1981 - Construction begins at Industrial Park in Schroeppel.
  • 1983 - Bristol Hill Landfill opens.
  • 1985 - Energy Recovery Facility begins operation. Radiological Emergency Preparedness Plan receives Federal approval. H. Douglas Barclay Courthouse is dedicated in Pulaski.
  • 1986 - Two new buildings constructed at Oswego County Fairgrounds in Sandy Creek.
  • 1987 - New addition constructed at Legislative Office Building, Oswego. (County Clerk's Building)
  • 1988 - Constitution Park dedicated in Oswego. (Between County Courthouse and Legislative Office Building). New Highway garage built in Pulaski. Voluntary recycling program began with composting and tree waste reduction.
  • 1989 - Major addition to Department of Social Services Building, Mexico, started. Highway garage completed in Parish.
  • 1992 - Addition to County Courthouse in Pulaski completed.
  • 1993 - Plans made to adopt 911 Emergency Notification System county-wide. Legislature votes to redistrict and reduce size from 36 to 25 legislators, abolishing weighted voting in favor of districts of equal population.
  • 1994 - Oswego Courthouse restoration completed. Oswego County Public Safety Building completed across the road from 1911 Oswego County Jail. Legislature creates Records Management and Research Center to be housed in former Sheriff's office and garage.
  • 1997 - Oswego Department of Motor Vehicles moved out of quarters at County Legislative building and into front portion of Sheriff's former office next to 1911 Oswego County Jail. Records Center opened in back portion of Sheriff's former office. This facility will house archives and inactive records. There is a research room available. 911 Emergency Notification System in operation.


Oswego County has been settled for more than 180 years; there has been an Oswego County since 1816 when it was created by an act of the State Legislature. Prior to that time the territory now comprising Oswego was part of Massachusetts Bay Company's Grant of 1629; claimed by both Massachusetts and New York between 1681 and 1770; deeded by Massachusetts to New York in 1786 and 1787; part of Montgomery County - 1794; the towns of Oswego, Hannibal and Granby on the west side of the Oswego River were a part of the Military Tract in Onondaga County, including the original township of Hannibal and 33 lots from the north part of Lysander; the towns east of the Oswego River were taken from Oneida County.

Oswego County is one of three counties in the state that historically had two county seats. At the first Board of Supervisors meeting held in 1816, the law provided for two jury districts with a county seat and court house in each district. Needless to say, there were problems. By vote of the Supervisors and an Act of the Legislature in 1852, the permanent seat of the County Clerk was fixed in Oswego, but courts continue to be held in both the city of Oswego and the village of Pulaski to this day. Since 1852 the records have been kept in the County Clerk's office in Oswego.

Oswego County has always been important to the safety of the United States. It was the furthest frontier border during the Revolutionary War and the most important battle front in the War of 1812. Settlement started around 1800 slowly and slowed even further at the time of the War of 1812, not to start up again until after 1815. The actual impetus for settlement was the completion of the Oswego Canal in 1828. People, goods and news could travel on the canal & settlers came from eastern counties and New England where land was wearing out.

Oswego County Vital Statistics

  • County Seat: The City of Oswego
  • Oswego County became New York State's 48th county in 1816.
  • Size: 968 square miles
  • Two cities - Oswego and Fulton
  • 9 Villages - Central Square, Cleveland, Hannibal, Lacona, Mexico, Parish, Phoenix, Pulaski and Sandy Creek.
  • 22 Towns - Albion, Amboy, Boylston, Constantia, Granby, Hannibal, Hastings, Mexico, Minetto, New Haven, Orwell, Oswego, Palermo, Parish, Redfield, Richland, Sandy Creek, Schroeppel, Scriba, Volney, West Monroe, and Williamstown.
  • 755.79 miles of highway
  • Population: Approximately 122,000
  • Products: farm produce, dairy products, paper mill products, aluminum rolled products, wire, frozen vegetables, chocolate products, paper containers, baked beans, paper making machinery and electricity.
  • Three nuclear power plants, several hydroelectric plants, oil and oil burning power plants with an installed capacity in excess of 4,300,000 kw output.
  • Tourism: trophy fishing, boating, camping, festivals year-round, museum exhibits, historic sites including Fort Ontario, two state parks, two state fish hatcheries, three auto race tracks and a county fair.
  • Education: nine public school districts, one vocational education center, one state university college, two college extension sites.
  • Public Facilities: 11 public libraries, one hospital, several primary care centers and health care centers.
  • Major waterways: Lakes Ontario and Oneida, the Oswego, Oneida and Salmon Rivers.
  • Geography: Tug Hill Plateau has highest point in NE corner at 1550', Lake Ontario Plain, Oswego, Oneida and Salmon River Valleys.
  • One town, Orwell, is "dry".
  • Harbors: Oswego Harbor at the mouth of the Oswego River in City of Oswego and Port Ontario at the mouth of the Salmon River.
  • The Port of Oswego Authority dock is the first major port of call on the Great Lakes.

Oswego County Seal

countysealAs stated by emblem designer Madelyn Schmidt:

"In 1976, the Oswego County Legislature, as part of their participation in the Bicentennial Celebration, sponsored a contest to create a logo to be used as the Oswego County seal.

I attempted to choose symbols that would represent the many aspects of our county.

The outside five pointed shape is taken from historic Fort Ontario, located in the City of Oswego, which is the county seat.

The smoke stack and energy symbol signify the numerous industries in the county, giving employment to many.

The plow is emblematic of the importance of agriculture throughout our 22 towns - including dairying, much farming, and the growing of fruit, vegetables and other crops.

The graduation cap symbolizes the high quality of all education in our county, from programs such as Head Start and preschools through high school and in particular our widely acclaimed State University College at Oswego.

The sailboat and fish characterize the recreational pleasure derived by residents of the county - from its ponds, streams, rivers, Oneida Lake and Lake Ontario. In addition, many businesses thrive due to the tourists who flock to our attractive county."


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