Neighbors that you know. At our very core, that is what sets us apart and makes Massena work for business… for family… and for you.
We have unique neighborhoods that create our community. From the area built to house a booming post-WWII population known as Homecroft, to the old home section of the Willow Grove. The Buckeye tract of single story homes built in the 1960’s. The Mortgage Hill neighborhood that stretches from homes built within the past few years back to those raised before the turn of the century.
You can walk into any shop and feel welcome. Parents know who their teenagers are hanging around with. WE know the teachers and school board members. We sit together in the bleachers to cheer for our kids’ hockey teams or line the field for youth soccer games. We share backyard barbecues and chats in the grocery store aisles. We’re a community of walkers… greeting even those we don’t know by name, but whose faces are certainly familiar.
You can’t replicate that comfortable feeling of being at home that you feel when you live in Massena. We start by being a community of neighbors and, quite frankly, that helps iron a lot of other things out – like keeping our crime rates low, keeping our high school dropout rates down and our sense of security high.
Known to the Mohawks as Kanaiatarowenenneh, or “the big waterway,” the mighty St. Lawrence River etches our border to the north, with the Grasse and Racquette Rivers winding their paths within our village and town. Long before Massena had its name or settlers to farm its land, our region had a rich and marvelous history of aboriginal use and heritage dating back over 9,000 years. Archeological studies of the waterway around what is now known as Massena and Akwesasne (which means "place of partridges") show evidence of extensive aboriginal use for hunting, fishing, gathering berries and plants, as well as sophisticated trading networks that likely included jasper, flint, quartzite, furs and copper. Click here for more information on the River of the Iroquois.
Our community was established in 1792 when Anable Faucher leased land from Canadian Indians who had received it as part of a treaty. Named for Napoleon Bonaparte’s General André Massena, the community’s first settlers came to the area from the neighboring State of Vermont. The Mohawk Indians called the Massena settlement Nikentsiake – which means, “where the fish live.”
Not long after its founding, residents tried to have the name changed from Massena to something more patriotic than a name connected with Napoleon and his demise. Attempts to change the name to Jefferson (after President Thomas Jefferson) were rejected because it would duplicate the name of another town in New York State, and the names “Americus” and “Liberty” eventually lost momentum during a long bureaucratic process.
During the 1800’s, Massena grew in prominence as a health retreat as people flocked to the area to enjoy the medicinal benefits of bathing in the sulphur mineral springs found along the Racquette River. Known to the Indians as Kanaswastakeras, meaning "the place where the mud smells bad," the Iroquois had been visiting the springs and using the waters for their "curative" powers for generations before settlers from New England and Europe came to this area. The Indians described the springs as a place where many moose, deer and their sick brothers would come to drink the healing waters.
The sulphur springs provided a booming economy for the place known as Massena Springs, N.Y. Many grand homes and hotels opened and grew to accommodate the many people who would come to "use The Massena Waters." For those who couldn't travel here, the curative waters were locally bottled and shipped far and wide. In celebration of its history, our present-day Springs Park received a major renovation and dedication in 2004.
The Springs continued as the community’s primary industry until the turn of the 20th century when industry found its footing with low cost hydro power. The first hydroelectric facility was built in 1900 when Henry H. Warren organized a company to dig a power canal that connected the Grasse River and the mighty St. Lawrence. In that distance, the depth dropped 45 feet and allowed for the harnessing of 200,000 horsepower.
This source of inexpensive, reliable power enticed the Pittsburgh Reduction Company (later named the Aluminum Company of America, or Alcoa) to establish a facility in the community. With the influx of workers created by the new industrial plant, housing shortages were not uncommon and many workers stayed at the grand hotels formerly filled with those who sought the healing powers of the mineral springs.
This second era of progress for Massena continued to develop in the 1950’s with the development of the Power Project, now administered by the New York Power Authority, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Project.
Serving as a model for the utility industry well beyond our State’s borders, the New York Power Authority has a magnificent history of overcoming obstacles, realizing visions and enjoying the involvement of such great individuals as Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt, Robert Moses and Thomas Dewey.
Because of their tenacity, Massena became the home of the first New York Power Authority hydropower plant – the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project. It stretches the length of 10 football fields across the St. Lawrence, connecting the U.S. and Canada. The Power Project produces some of the cheapest power in North America with 16 turbines generating more than 900,000 kilowatts of electricity – plenty of power to light a city the size of Washington, D.C.
The 1950’s also saw the development of the Saint Lawrence Seaway – a system of locks and gates that raise or lower the water levels to allow boats to traverse the river from its opening at the Atlantic Ocean into the Great Lakes.
The St. Lawrence River drops 226 feet between Lake Ontario and Montreal, Canada. To allow vessels to pass through the 800-mile long river and in and out of the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway (a massive American-Canadian navigational project) was begun in 1954 and completed in 1959. The Seaway created the final link in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system, connecting Duluth, Minnesota, some 2,340 miles (3,766 km) away, with the head of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, through a complex system of lakes, rivers, deepened channels, locks, and canals.
With the completion of the Seaway and the Power Project, Massena realized a major expansion at the Alcoa plant – now recognized as the oldest continuously operating aluminum production and fabricating facility in the western hemisphere. It also became home to a Reynolds Metals (now part of Alcoa) -- providing employment to more than 2200 people and over $200-million to the North Country economy in payroll, taxes and local purchases.
Massena has not been immune to the affects of recession and economic downturns. At times over the past three decades, we’ve faced the challenges of line closings at the industrial plants, resulting job losses and rises in unemployment. But, as a community, we’ve risen to every challenge and continue to work toward a diverse and stronger economy with planning and perseverance.
In the 1980s, as the Canadian dollar’s value increased, the influx of shoppers into Massena from our northern neighbors was met with the establishment of a regional retail mall. The St. Lawrence Centre Mall, St. Lawrence Centre Ice Arena and St. Lawrence strip mall complex was built along State Route 37, along with the neighboring BJ’s Wholesale Club and Aldi’s stores. They joined retail districts located in downtown Massena, along the corridors of East Orvis and Main Streets, the Willow Grove area and the Harte Haven Shopping Center. In 2007 / 2008, the community saw more development along this commercial corridor with the completion of Walgreens, Pizza Hut Wing Street, Tractor Supply, Super Wal*Mart and Home Depot.
Every visitor is special to us… but we are indeed proud to say we’ve enjoyed the company of several U.S. presidents (Eleanor Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower), Norman Rockwell, Robert Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Queen Elizabeth, hockey legends Gordie Howe and Doug Gilmore, musician Eddie Money, Cher, Aerosmith and others.
Massena is the very heart of industry and commerce in New York State’s North Country region… a region that covers the six northernmost counties of the Empire State. Nearly 14,000 people call Massena home from our spot along the banks of the mighty St. Lawrence River in the county of St. Lawrence – the largest county in New York State. Strategically positioned on the Canadian border, we enjoy a warm neighborly relationship with Cornwall, Ontario, Canada to our immediate north and a central location between the New York cities of Plattsburgh to our east and Watertown to our west.
In less than two hours, you can be enjoying the European flair of Montreal, Quebec, or see the changing of the guard at Parliament or the gorgeous Tulip Festival in the beautiful Canadian capital city of Ottawa. Look to the south, and you’ll see the majestic vista of the nearby Adirondack Mountains that invite fabulous, world class skiing in the winter and a marvelous system of hiking trails to enjoy all year. A visit to the Lake Placid, The Olympic Village, is scenic and offers lots to do any time of the year.
In less than a day’s drive, you will find 45% of the U.S. population and 70% of the Canadian population – from New York City to Toronto; Buffalo to Boston. Within a 750 mile radius, you’ll find 37% of America’s manufacturing plants and 75% of Canada’s; 35% of the U.S. industrial payroll and 83% of Canada’s; 29% of America’s retail sales and 69% of Canada’s.
Our region offers a wide diversity of communities, lifestyles, recreational pursuits and outstanding educational opportunities at all levels, including five public and private universities. With annual payroll in Massena well over $150-million, residents enjoy a high quality of life enhanced by reasonable property values, a low crime rate and extremely low-cost, reliable power from our municipal electric company.
Enjoy lazy summer days boating and fishing on the most scenic freshwater river you’ll ever stick your feet into. Cruise the 1000 Islands of the St. Lawrence or fish the deep waters for prize-sized carp and muskie. Enjoy our three riversides, sandy beaches, or sleep under the stars in one of our campgrounds… or right in your own backyard. Check out the classic cars at the weekly cruise-ins. Pack a lunch and spend the day with the kids at one of our neighborhood playgrounds. Spread a blanket and enjoy concerts in the park or fireworks.
Besides all of that, we have really small bugs here. And we don’t have all those creepy-crawly things that southerners find in their crawl spaces. That’s what winter really does for us – it keeps our pest population down. It also gives us the opportunity to enjoy cross-country or alpine skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice boating, ice skating, hockey, building snowmen or sledding on community hills.
If you are thinking of moving here and you aren’t a fan of snow, Massena is probably not your best choice. It’s also probably not the best fit if you like lots of bugs, termite inspections, off-the-charts humidity, hurricanes, tornadoes, mudslides and wildfires. What we get, we can shovel and we’re well prepared to handle what Mother Nature sweeps up our way.
But, if you love seeing four distinct and beautiful seasons… sleigh rides to snowmobiles… swimming and boating… gorgeous fall foliage… and the rich greens of spring… you have definitely found your home.
Click here for a map of Massena or type in a specific address below.
From Canada, take the 401 to Cornwall (US Bridge/Brookdale Avenue Exit) and follow Brookdale Ave/CR-2 East/Provincial Route 138 S. Enter roundabout and take exit to continue following Provincial Route 138 S/Seaway International Bridge. After processing at U.S. Customs, follow the roundabout to the second exit onto NYS 37 W. Follow NYS 37 W into Massena. Massena is less than 20 minutes from Cornwall.
From Buffalo/Rochester/Syracuse/Watertown, take US 81 N to Alexandria Bay, exit 50N, to NY 12 N which will become NYS 37 E. Stay on NYS 37 E to Massena. From Buffalo, approximately 5 hours driving time, 4 hours 30 minutes from Rochester, 3 hours from Syracuse, 1 hour 45 minutes from Watertown.
From NYC/Albany, take US 87 N (Adirondack Northway) to Plattsburgh; bear right onto exit ramp 42 (Mooers/Rouses Point) to US 11. Turn left onto US 11 and follow US 11 to Malone. Turn right onto NYS 37 W in Malone and continue on NYS 37 W into Massena. Approximate driving time from NYC, 6 hours; from Albany, 4 hours.
From Vermont, take Interstate 89 north to exit 21 (Swanton). Follow Route 78 west to Rouses Point (Route 78 merges with Route 2). Follow U.S. Route 11 south to Malone; turn right onto Route 37 W to Massena. Driving time from Burlington, approximately three hours.
From Boston, take I-93 N (Portions toll) to I-89 N toward Lebanon/White River Jct VT. Take the VT-78 exit (Exit 21) toward US-7/Swanton. Turn left onto 1ST ST/VT-78. Continue to follow VT-78. Turn right onto N River St/VT-78. Continue to follow VT-78. Turn right onto US-2 S/Theodore Roosevelt Hwy. Continue to follow US-2 S. Turn left onto US-11/Lake St, then right onto US-11/Champlain St. Continue to follow US-11 into Malone; turn right onto Route 37 W to Massena. Driving time from Boston, approximately six hours, 30 minutes.
In the Massena area, you can dock at the Robert Moses State Park Marina (approximately 3 miles north of Massena) or Coles Creek State Park Marina (approximately 12 miles northwest of Massena). Boat launches are also available along the river in Massena at the Massena Intake (Route 131) and next to the Wilson Hill causeway (also on Route 131). For details on boating and fishing along the St. Lawrence, click here.
Massena enjoys a four-season climate that you can really tell when one starts and another ends. Our falls are filled with cooler days, brisk evenings and beautiful changing colors of foliage. Winter is crisp and marked with varying accumulations of snowfall – sometimes we get a pretty good dose, while others leave the ski resorts hoping for more.
In spring, our landscape comes to life with vibrant shades of green and blossoming plants. It’s not uncommon to see jackets shed in April – largely because we are ready to embrace the warmth of a North Country summer. With only a smattering of days when you can’t stand the heat, our summer months are truly glorious.
During our summers and parts of spring and autumn, Massena’s temperatures usually rise rapidly during daytime and fall after sunset, so the nights are cool and comfortable. Temperatures average 24 degrees in January; 46 degrees in April; 71 in July and 62 in September.
Our region enjoys sufficient precipitation to comfortably meet the needs of agriculture and water supplies. Rainfall is well distributed, with monthly averages close to three inches. As a rule, wind velocities are moderate, reaching around 11 miles per hour during the colder months.
You’ll find our current weather on our community portal home page. In that current weather box, you can click on the link above the temperature for our 10-day forecast.
If you aren’t already part of our community but want to be, we encourage you to learn more with a virtual visit by reviewing the pages of this community portal. Or, for a packet of information and relocation guidance, we encourage you to contact our Chamber of Commerce at 315-769-3525 or email them at email@example.com.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
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