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Parishville in Saint Lawrence County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Parishville

Powered by the West Branch of the St. Regis River

 
 
Parishville Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 17, 2015
1. Parishville Marker
Inscription. David Parish, a wealthy European merchant, purchased a 200,000 acre tract of wilderness here on speculation in 1808. A town would soon be formed here to take advantage of the power of the St. Regis, and eventually given the name of "Parishville."

Parishville's industry saw its peak in the mid to late 19th century. A combination of factors led to the end of this era, including a series of disasterous fires, and the absence of the railroad in Parishville. Still, the river continues to be an important factor in the life of this small town, as the focus turned to hydropower and water recreation.

Log Transport.
A log drive on the West Branch of the St. Regis River. The men directing the logs, known as "Log Drivers" or "River Pigs," are seen with their pike poles or peaveys, which were long poles with fixed metal points and hooks.

Water Powered Industries.
One of the many timber-related factories and mills beyond the Gorge. This sawmill was owned by Simeon Clark and his son Pliny, who owned many water powered factories in Parishville, working local lumber.

Views of the factories along the West Branch of the St. Regis River. There were 14 factories/mills beyond the Gorge in the early history of Parishville, including rake factories, butter tub factories, starch factories, grist mills, cabinet shops and
Left Detail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 17, 2015
2. Left Detail
distilleries.

Some items produced by Parishville Mills. Sugar tub. Rake. Grain Shovel.

Birdseye View of Parishville c1870.
An artist's conception of the mill complex as it might have looked from the north. The town was built around the river and its potential for industrial power.

Hydropower & Recreation.
Recreational boaters enjoy the flatwater and rapids above the dam.
Aerial Photo circa 1945.
The Parishville hydropower facility was developed and built in 1925. Water falls a total of 143 feet in elevation through a 2,545 foot metal pipeline which drives a 2.5 megawatt generator capable of generating enough electricity to power 1,200 homes for a year. Together, the Parishville and Allen Falls projects generate over 21,400,000 kilowatt hours of clean energy per year.

1800-1870
David Parish's plans for development initially focused on clearing roads and making land available for farming, which began in 1809, but his long term plans focused on the potential for industry along the West Branch of the St. Regis River. By 1811, a saw mill and a grist mill were both erected, and powered by the river. Over the next several decades, a dozen more factories were established along the river, bringing in a sizeable population of settlers and their families.

1870-1925
By the end of the 19th century, the industrial era in Parishville
Center & Map Detail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 17, 2015
3. Center & Map Detail
was coming to an end. The absence of the railroad put Parishville at a disadvantage to other areas of St. Lawrence County that did have available rail transport. A series of fires, beginning with the devastating fire of July 20, 1897, left the industrial section of Parishville in a state of destruction after which many factories and mills were never rebuilt.

1925-present
The use of the river in the last 100 years has taken quite a shift from the days of industry. The introduction of the automobile made it much easier for the working residents of Parishville to seek employment in neighboring towns, and the river was becoming more of a recreational treasure rather than a resource for industrial power. St. Lawrence County Utilities became the primary user of the river as a power source in Parishville when it built the dam and hydro station above the Gorge in 1925.
 
Location. 44° 37.699′ N, 74° 48.838′ W. Marker is in Parishville, New York, in Saint Lawrence County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street (New York State Route 72) and Catherine Street, on the left when traveling west on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1762 Main Street, Parishville NY 13672, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies
Right Detail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 17, 2015
4. Right Detail
. West Branch St. Regis River (here, next to this marker); Site Of First Bridge (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Parish Tavern (about 600 feet away); First Church (approx. 2.3 miles away); Site of Log Cabin of Luke Brown (approx. 4.3 miles away); This was the First Road in the Town of Parishville (approx. 6.9 miles away); British Raid (approx. 6.9 miles away); Cox's Mill (approx. 8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Parishville.
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
Northward image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 17, 2015
5. Northward
NY Route 72 in background.
Marker at Right image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 17, 2015
6. Marker at Right
The center marker identifies the piece of metal above it as from the World Trade Center. West Branch of St. Regis River in background.
Hydropower Dam image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 17, 2015
7. Hydropower Dam
On the West Branch of the St. Regis River; opposite side of river and opposite side of NY Route 72 from the marker. Dam is next to the Site of First Bridge marker.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 11, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 347 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on June 11, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.
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