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Elmira, New York
|• Mayor||Daniel Mandell (R)|
|• City Manager||P. Michael Collins|
|• City Council|
|• City||7.58 sq mi (19.63 km2)|
|• Land||7.25 sq mi (18.78 km2)|
|• Water||0.33 sq mi (0.85 km2)|
|Elevation||860 ft (260 m)|
| • Estimate
|• Density||3,730.56/sq mi (1,440.36/km2)|
|• Metro||90,070 (Chemung County)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
14901, 14904, 14905
Elmira // is the largest city and the county seat of Chemung County, New York, United States. It is the principal city of the Elmira, New York, metropolitan statistical area, which encompasses Chemung County, New York. The population was 29,200 at the 2010 census.
The City of Elmira is in the south-central part of the county, surrounded on three sides by the Town of Elmira. It is in the Southern Tier of New York, a short distance north of the Pennsylvania state line.
This was long an area inhabited by indigenous people. In historic times, it was occupied by the Cayuga nation of the Iroquois Confederacy, also called the Kanawaholla. They had some relations with Europeans and English over fur trading, but were relatively isolated from the encroaching settlements.
During the American Revolutionary War, the Sullivan Expedition of 1779 was mounted against the four Iroquois nations who had allied with the British and Loyalist forces. It fought a combined British-Iroquois force at the Battle of Newtown, south of the current city, in which Sullivan and his forces were victorious. After the conclusion of the war, the Iroquois and the new United States made a treaty at Elmira in 1791 to settle territorial disputes in the region. Most of the Seneca emigrated under pressure with the other Iroquois to Canada, where they resettled on land provided by the British Crown.
The first European-American settler in Elmira was captain Abraham Miller of the Continental Army. He built a cabin after resigning just before the Revolutionary War. Miller's Pond and Miller Street are named after him and are near the location of his house.
The New York legislature established the Township of Chemung, now Chemung County, in 1788. The settlement of Newtown was soon established at the intersection of Newtown Creek and the Chemung River. In 1792, the settlement at Newtown joined with the Wisnerburg and DeWittsburg settlements to form the village of Newtown. In 1808, the village officially changed its name to the Town of Elmira, at a town meeting held at Teal's Tavern. It is said the town was named after tavern owner Nathan Teal's young daughter, but that story has never been confirmed. In any case, the City of Elmira, also called "The Queen City", was incorporated in 1864 from part of the town of Elmira and the village of Elmira. The remaining part of the town of Elmira exists still, surrounding the city on the west, north and east. The city and town share an intricately entwined history. According to Amos B. Carpenter's Family History book printed in 1898, Elmira is named after Major General Matthew Carpenter's daughter. This occurred according to the book in 1821 at the constitutional convention to which Matthew was a delegate.
Elmira served as a transportation hub for New York's Southern Tier in the 1800s, connecting commercial centers in Rochester and Buffalo with Albany and New York City, via the canal system and railroads. The city was the southern terminus of the Chemung Canal (completed in 1833); later, the Junction Canal was constructed to connect Elmira with Corning, facilitating transport of coal from the Pennsylvania mines via the Northern branch of the Susquehanna Canal system. In 1849, the New York and Erie Railroad was built through Elmira, giving the area a New York City to Buffalo route. In 1850, the Elmira and Jefferson Railroad gave the area a route north and the Elmira and Williamsport Railroad a route south in 1854. This made the city a prime location for an Army training and muster point early in the Civil War.
In 1872 construction began on the Utica, Ithaca and Elmira Railroad, eventually creating a route to Cortland and Syracuse via Horseheads, Breesport and VanEtten. The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, completed in 1884, competed with the Erie's New York City to Buffalo line.
A great deal of the 30-acre (120,000 m2) Union installation, known as Camp Rathbun, fell into disuse as the Civil War progressed, and the camp's "Barracks #3" were converted into a Civil War prisoner of war camp in the summer of 1864. The camp, in use from June 6, 1864, until autumn 1865, was dubbed "Hellmira" by its inmates. Towner's history of 1892  and maps from the period indicate the camp occupied a somewhat irregular parallelogram, running about 1,000 feet (300 m) west and approximately the same distance south of a location several hundred feet west of Hoffman Street (Foster Avenue) and Winsor Avenue, bordered on the south by Foster's Pond, on the north bank of the Chemung River.
In the months the site was used as a camp, 12,123 Confederate soldiers were incarcerated; of these, 2,963 died during their stay from a combination of malnutrition, prolonged exposure to brutal winter weather and disease directly attributable to the dismal sanitary conditions on Foster's Pond and lack of medical care. The camp's dead were prepared for burial and laid to rest by the sexton at Woodlawn National Cemetery, ex-slave John W. Jones. At the end of the war, each prisoner was given a loyalty oath and given a train ticket back home; the last prisoner left the camp on September 27, 1865. The camp was closed, demolished and converted to farmland. Woodlawn Cemetery, about 2 miles (3 km) north of the original prison camp site (bounded by West Hill, Bancroft, Davis and Mary Streets), was designated a "National Cemetery" in 1877. The prison camp site is today a residential area.
Reformatory and correctional facility
The state legislature authorized the building of a state prison for first offenders in 1866. It opened in 1876 as the Elmira Reformatory, under the direction of Zebulon Brockway, serving offenders aged sixteen to thirty. It was the first institution of its kind, and a model for others to follow. In 1970 the complex was renamed the Elmira Correctional and Reception Center.
In 1950, the Elmira's population peaked at about 50,000, which represented 57 percent of Chemung County's total population at the time. Today, the city has approximately 30,000 residents, which represents 34 percent of Chemung County's population. This population decline is due to the national decline in railroads and manufacturing as well as a population shift to the outer suburbs around Elmira. The Elmira Metro area has nearly 100,000 people.
The population decline began during the recession of the early 1970s during which several large employers (Ann Page, American Bridge, General Electric, American LaFrance, Westinghouse and Remington Rand) either closed their factories or moved to other states. The decline was exacerbated by the flood of 1972, during which many of the downtown businesses and single-family homes were destroyed or replaced by subsequent Urban Renewal projects in the Chemung River flood plain.
Anchor Glass Container Corporation, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, is in the old Thatcher Glass facility in Elmira Heights. Anchor Glass produces a diverse line of flint, amber, green and other colored glass containers of various types and designs for the beer, food, beverage and liquor markets in North America. Anchor Glass is now wholly owned by the Ardagh Group S.A..
CAF-USA Inc has its main U.S. plant in Elmira Heights on the site of the former American Bridge Company. CAF USA is a subsidiary company of Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles, a Spanish manufacturer of passenger rail products (including trains, high-speed trains, locomotives, light rail vehicles and other rail equipment). CAF-USA Inc trains are typically designed for North America's market, based on Spanish design and technologies.
Elmira Heat Treating, established in 1962 in Elmira, offers a wide variety of heat treatment technologies to both domestic and international customers such as Hilliard Corp., Ford Motors, General Signal and others.
Hardinge, Inc. (formerly Hardinge Brothers), established in 1890 and now headquartered in Elmira, manufactures precise turning machines for the domestic and international market. Starting in 1995, Hardinge began expanding their product line and over the years has acquired L. Kellenberger & Co. AG, Hauser-Tripet-Tschudin AG, Jones & Shipman, and Usach Technologies, Inc. In 2004 they also acquired Bridgeport, world-famous for its milling machines and machining centers.
Hilliard Corporation, established in 1905, has two locations in Elmira and serves the international market in filters, brakes, clutches and starters for a variety of industrial and commercial uses as well as consumer equipment from Polaris and MTD.
Kennedy Valve, located in Elmira since 1905, is one of the world's largest manufacturers of products for waterworks distribution, potable and wastewater treatment, and fire protection system projects. They are most famous for their fire hydrants which can be found around the world. Kennedy Valve was acquired by McWane in 1988.
Trayer Products, established in 1929, manufactures parts mostly for the heavy truck industry; primarily truck chassis parts such as king pins and shackles.
Hurricane Agnes and the Flood of '72
During the summer of 1972, Hurricane Agnes struck the eastern seaboard of the United States, causing significant damage stretching from Florida into New England. Elmira was particularly hit hard by the flood, with over an estimated $291 million dollars in damage. Over 15,000 people had to flee the city, and approximately 5,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Coordinated efforts between local churches and regional businesses helped with the cleanup. Operating in secrecy, Rochester NY based Eastman Kodak sent crews as part of Operation Rebuild. Their efforts rebuilt 78 homes and assisted in the repairs of countless others.
Elmira city leaders approached the New York State Urban Development Corporation (UDC) to lead the redevelopment of the city post-flood. With a select group of businessmen and city officials attempting to minimize public input, the UDC implemented the "New Elmira Plan". This entailed the removal of buildings along the river to create Riverside Park, and razing other buildings in the business district for two parking garages. Altogether, forty percent of Elmira's commercial space was eliminated as part of the plan. Local citizens lamented the loss of character and vibrancy of downtown Elmira.
On July 26, 2012, an EF1 tornado touched down near Cottage Drive off of Route 352 and traveled through Golden Glow and the rest of the city. Moderate damage was seen after the storm passed and hundreds of trees and power lines were blown down. No one was injured. The tornado was 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide and took the city by surprise as this area has not been prone to tornadic activity.
The City Slogan is "Honoring the Past, Building the Future". It is featured on an Entrance sign erected in 2003 into the City from Exit 56 of the Southern Tier Expressway along with other honored Elmirans including (L to R) Brian Williams, Hal Roach, Ernie Davis, Mark Twain, Eileen Collins, John Jones, and Tommy Hilfiger. The slogan was designated by Mayor Stephen Hughes following the conclusion of a slogan contest in which Marlin Stewart, Alan and Barbara Hutchinson, and James Lloyd were recognized for their contributions to the winning slogan.
On at least two hilltops near the city (mostly on Harris Hill to the northwest) pioneer pilots established the sport of gliding in America. Harris Hill is the site of the National Soaring Museum. These sites are now recognized as National Landmarks of Soaring.
- Dunn Field is a baseball stadium along the southern banks of the Chemung River. The Elmira Pioneers play at Dunn Field. Famous players and managers who have played or managed at Dunn Field include Babe Ruth, Earl Weaver, Don Zimmer, Wade Boggs, and Curt Schilling.
- Elmira College is in the city.
- In 2020, the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine plans to open a new branch of its medical school where Arnot Park is currently located.
- The Clemens Center is a concert and theater center named after Samuel Clemens, (Mark Twain).
- The Arnot Art Museum is in the downtown Civic-Historic District.
- The recently restored Eldridge Park Carousel began operation in May 2006 and is the fastest carousel in the world, spinning at 18 miles per hour. 
- Woodlawn Cemetery and Woodlawn National Cemetery are both n the City of Elmira in the Northwest sector. Mark Twain and his family are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery.
- The First Arena was built in Elmira in 2000 (originally opened as the Coach USA Center). It is currently home to the Elmira Enforcers FPHL hockey team, and from 2000 to 2017, it was home to the Elmira Jackals of the UHL and ECHL, before the team folded.
The John Brand Jr. House, John Brand Sr. House, Buildings at 104–116 West Water St., Chemung Canal Bank Building, Chemung County Courthouse Complex, Clinton–Columbia Historic District, Elmira Civic Historic District, Elmira Coca-Cola Bottling Company Works, Elmira College Old Campus, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, Erste Deutsche Evangelische Kirche, Alexander Eustace House, Fire Station No. 4, William S. Gerity House, F. M. Howell and Company, John W. Jones House, Maple Avenue Historic District, Near Westside Historic District, Newtown Battlefield State Park, Park Church, Pentecostal Holy Temple Church of Jesus Christ, Pratt House, Quarry Farm, St. Patrick's Parochial Residence-Convent and School, Trinity Church, and Woodlawn Cemetery and Woodlawn National Cemetery are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Theresa Sareo, singer/songwriter
- Tedd Arnold, author and illustrator
- John Arnot, Jr., politician, Civil War soldier
- Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts
- Ray W. Barker, Major General, US Army
- James R. Beckwith, Wisconsin state assembly
- Simeon Benjamin (1792—1868), businessman, philanthropist, and benefactor of Elmira College
- Zebulon Brockway (1827–1920) known as the "Father of prison reform," directed the Elmira Reformatory
- Olivia "Livy" Langdon Clemens, wife of Mark Twain
- Chip Coffey, psychic, television personality
- Frederick Collin, lawyer, judge, Mayor of Elmira
- Eileen Collins, astronaut
- Harriet Maxwell Converse, author, folklorist, Native American civil rights advocate
- Clara Cook, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League player
- Ernie Davis, football player, first African-American Heisman Trophy winner (1961)
- Alexander S. Diven, former US Army officer and Congressman
- Stan Drulia, ice hockey player and coach
- Jacob Sloat Fassett, politician
- Clyde Fitch, playwright
- Thomas S. Flood, former US Congressman
- Dan Forrest, Jr., composer
- John Franchi, mixed martial arts fighter
- Henry Friendly, judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
- Burt Gillett, director of animated films
- Charles Tomlinson Griffes, composer
- Sam Groom, actor
- Jason Butler Harner, actor
- Bud Heine, former MLB player
- Lewis Henry, former US Congressman
- Bruce Heyman, U.S. Ambassador to Canada
- Tommy Hilfiger, fashion designer
- Molly Huddle, Olympic runner
- John W. Jones, underground railroad agent
- Matt Knowles, pro wrestler
- Warren D. Leary, Wisconsin State Assemblyman and newspaper publisher
- Kirt Manwaring, former Major League Baseball player
- Charles Thomas McMillen, basketball player, politician
- Norman A. Mordue, QB Syracuse University. Served with 1stAirCav Viet Nam. Currently U.S. Federal Judge 3rd District, Syracuse, NY
- William P. Perry, producer and composer
- Aurora Phelps, land reformer, labor leader, women's rights advocate
- Beth Phoenix, wrestler
- Jeanine Pirro, television host, author, and former New York State judge, prosecutor, and politician
- Jeff Plate, drummer for Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- Hal Roach, film producer
- Jane Roberts, writer and psychic - (1929–1984), author, psychic and trance or spirit medium.
- Hosea H. Rockwell, former US Congressman
- Francis Asbury Roe, naval officer
- Alice J. Shaw, whistling performer in vaudeville
- Frederick B. Shaw, U.S. Army brigadier general
- Joey Sindelar, pro golfer
- Horace B. Smith, former US Congressman
- Joel Dorman Steele, educator, writer
- John Surratt, son of Mary Surratt
- Art Sykes, boxer
- Mark Twain, writer
- Asher Tyler, former US Congressman
- Lewis Sayre Van Duzer, US Navy officer
- John Joseph Wantuck, US Marine awarded Navy Cross 
- Bob Waterfield, college and pro football player, husband of actress Jane Russell
- Brian Williams, television news anchor
- Jason Wise, actor
- Don Zimmer, Major League Baseball player and manager
Geography and climate
Elmira is at (42.089874, −76.809559).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 7.6 sq mi (19.6 km2), of which, 7.3 sq mi (19.0 km2) of it is land and 0.27 sq mi (0.7 km2) of it (3.56%) is water.
The Chemung River flows eastward through the city. Elmira is built almost entirely in the flood plain of the Chemung River and has suffered many floods, the worst from Hurricane Agnes in 1972. Newtown Creek, flowing from the north, joins the Chemung River at the city's southeast corner.
Interstate 86/New York State Route 17, The Southern Tier Expressway, connects with the city at Exit 56. New York State Route 14 passes through Elmira between Watkins Glen and Pennsylvania. New York State Route 13 begins near Lake Ontario and travels through Cortland and Ithaca before ending in Elmira. New York State Route 352 begins in Elmira at Exit 56 of the Southern Tier Expressway and continues West into Corning.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 30,940 people, 11,475 households, and 6,701 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,229.5 people per square mile (1,632.0/km2). There were 12,895 housing units at an average density of 1,762.7 per square mile (680.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.03% White, 13.05% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.37% from other races, and 2.64% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.14% of the population.
There were 11,475 households, out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 18.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.6% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.1% under the age of 18, 13.0% from 18 to 24, 29.9% from 25 to 44, 18.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 101.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $27,292, and the median income for a family was $33,592. Males had a median income of $31,775 versus $22,350 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,495. About 17.9% of families and 23.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.6% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.
The three largest ethnic groups in Elmira are Irish, German and Italian.
|Mayors of Elmira|
|Daniel J. Mandell||R||2016–present|
|Susan J. Skidmore||D||2012–2015|
|John S. Tonello||D||2006–2011|
|J. William O'Brien||D||3/2005-2006|
|Stephen M. Hughes||D||1998-2/2005|
|Howard F. Townsend||R||1994–1997|
|James E. Hare||D||1988–1993|
|Stephen J. Fesh Jr.||R||1984–1987|
|Mary P. Ciccariello||D||1982–1983|
|Robert G. Densberger||R||1980–1981|
|John M. Kennedy||D||1976–1979|
|Richard C. Loll||R||1972–1975|
|Edward T. Lagonegro||D||1968–1971|
|Howard H. Kimball||R||1966–1967|
|Edward T. Lagonegro||D||1962–1965|
|Edward A. Mooers||R||1956–1961|
|J. Maxwell Beers||R||1936–1939|
|Henry W. Honan||D||1934–1935|
|W. Glenn Sweet||R||1932–1933|
|Frank P. Robinson||D||1930–1931|
|David N. Heller||D||1926–1929|
|J. Norton Wood||R||1922–1925|
|George W. Peck||D||1920–1921|
|Harry N. Hoffman||-||1914–1919|
|Z. Reed Brockway||-||1906–1907|
|William T. Coleman||R||1904–1905|
|Frank H. Flood||-||1900–1901|
|David C. Robinson||D||1892–1894|
|Charles S. Davison||D||1888–1892|
|John B. Stanchfield||D||1886–1888|
|Stephen T. Arnot||D||1883–1884|
|David B. Hill||D||1882–1883|
|Granville D. Parsons||-||1878–1880|
|Robert T. Turner||-||1876–1878|
|Howard M. Smith||-||1875–1876|
|Patrick H. Flood||-||1872–1873|
|John Arnot, Jr.||D||1870–1871|
|Eaton N. Frisbie||-||1867–1868|
|John I. Nicks||R||1865–1867|
|John Arnot, Jr.||D||1864–1865|
|* Source: City Clerk of the City of Elmira |
The city government is a Council-Manager form of government in which the City Manager is the primary administrator of the City. There is one mayor elected at large and six council members elected from each of six council districts. The term of office of the mayor and council members was 2 years until a 2003 referendum extended the terms to 4 years (4 year terms began after the 2007 election). The mayor and council members are all part-time employees. The City Manager, City Clerk, City Chamberlain, City Assessor, and Corporation Counsel are all appointed by the City Council. All remaining department heads serve at the request of the City Manager.
The city has 125 miles (201 km) of road, 210 miles (340 km) of water lines, and 175 miles (282 km) of sewer lines. There are four ZIP codes in the City of Elmira: 14901 (northside), 14902 (downtown), 14904 (southside), and 14905 (West Elmira).
Facts about city government
- The city police department employs approximately 81 full-time officers.
- The city fire department employs approximately 60 full-time firefighters and officers.
- The city animal shelter has a goal to become by 2007 a no-kill animal shelter based on a model by Tompkins County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- The city received $1.4 million in Community Development Block Grant funds and $368,000 in HOME funds in FY2006-2007 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds are used for programs and projects for low-moderate income families and neighborhood blocks.
- The City of Elmira has more than 20 parks including Eldridge Park with a walking trail, restored carousel, skateboard park, and fishing lake and Wisner Park with memorials to veterans from World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the Fallen Officers Memorial.
- The City Manager of the City of Elmira is currently  P. Michael Collins.
- Naming rights to the Millers Pond Park were obtained by J. Howard "Buzz" Miller, an early-20th century benevolent industrialist, when his horse "Mumbo Jumbo" won a 1912 race at the Tioga Downs horse track.
- The Chief of Police is currently  Joseph Kane.
- Star-Gazette, daily morning newspaper owned by Gannett Co. Inc. It was Gannett's first newspaper.
- Chemung Valley Reporter, weekly newspaper based in nearby Horseheads .
- WPIE (studio in Elmira, tower in Trumansburg)
- WKPQ / WHHO (studio in Hornell)
- WLEA / WCKR (studio in Hornell)
- WECW (Elmira College Student-Run Radio Station)
- WETM 18 (NBC)
- WSKA 30 (PBS, simulcast of WSKG-TV) (licensed to Corning, with which Elmira shares TV market)
- WENY-TV 36 (ABC on DT1/CBS on DT2/CW on DT3 through The CW Plus) (studio in Horseheads, licensed to Elmira)
- WJKP-LD 39 (MyNetworkTV) (studio and license in Corning, with which Elmira shares TV market)
- WYDC 48 (FOX) (studio and license in Corning, with which Elmira shares TV market)
The Chemung County Transit System operates regularly scheduled fixed route service within the City of Elmira and Village of Horseheads. Another route links Elmira with Corning Community College, also linking passengers with the Steuben County Transit System (SCT) and Corning Erwin Area Transit System (CEATS).
The Elmira Corning Regional Airport (IATA code ELM, ICAO code KELM) is a medium-size regional airport, and the only area airport that offers scheduled airline service. Located 7 miles (11 km) northwest of downtown, the airport has non-stop flights to Detroit in addition to seasonal flights to Atlanta served by Delta Air Lines, and two routes to Florida served by Allegiant Air with the airline serving seasonal flights to Punta Gorda and Myrtle Beach.
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