Founded in 1787 by pioneers from Connecticut, the picturesque village was widely known during the 19th century for its many private secondary schools, a distinction that earned it the sobriquet Schooltown. For nearly 100 years, these academies and seminaries met the educational needs of hundreds of students throughout the Northeast, including U.S. president Grover Cleveland, Red Cross founder Clara Barton and transcontinental railroad visionary and university founder Leland Stanford.
Other famous people in American history attended Hamilton College, which sits atop a hill overlooking the village. Founded in 1793 as the Hamilton-Oneida Academy by the Revered Samuel Kirkland, a missionary to the Oneida Indians, it was chartered as a college in 1812 by the New York State Board of Regents. Today it stands as one of America's oldest and finest liberal arts colleges. Among its many prestigious alumni are abolitionist Gerrit Smith, U.S. Vice President James Sherman, painter Daniel Huntington, poet Ezra Pound, and distinguished statesman Elihu Root.
A Clinton native, Mr. Root won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1912, and for many years his family tended to the gardens in the glen behind the Root homestead on the Hamilton campus. Today, the Root Glen is open to the public and has become a favorite spot for quiet walks among the shaded red-shale paths to admire the many species of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers.
Clinton's Village Green serves as the focal point for much of the activity in the community, especially during the summer months. Whether attending the Jayceesí Tuesday evening concerts, sampling fresh produce and delicious baked goods during the Thursday afternoon Farmerís Market, learning about days past during Historic Clinton Week, watching one of the many annual parades, or just relaxing on a bench and enjoying the children play by the fountain, the Village Green is the center of community life in Clinton.
Clinton also enjoys an unexpectedly rich cultural life for a community its size. The Kirkland Arts Center, housed on the Village Green in the original 1842 Methodist Church, sponsors gallery exhibitions, coffeehouses, concerts and a wide variety of arts, crafts and even fitness classes, while Hamilton College offers several performing arts series, lectures, readings and exhibitions. Even the local coffee shop sponsors poetry readings on Wednesday evenings.
With its beautiful trees charming small-town atmosphere, Clinton is also a wonderful place to take a leisurely stroll. Historical markers throughout the village celebrate Clintonís past, including one plaque naming the central village area to the National Register of Historic Places; anothermarking the Chenango Canal, a feeder to the Erie Canal; and a third marking the site of the Clinton Pharmacy, which from its modest beginnings on West Park Row has grown to become the international pharmaceutical giant, Bristol-Myers-Squibb. Enriching the area is the home of early mineral spring activity, which resulted in the founding of Franklin Springs in 1790, a hamlet on Clintonís south side. To the north is Clark Mills, founded in 1798, and the home to textile mills originally built by the A.B. Clark and Company around 1840 and which survived under various owners until 1943.
While visitors can might easily spend several days taking advantage of all that Clinton has to offer, the villageís central location, nice restaurants, and variety of bed and breakfasts also make it an ideal location from which to explore other regional attractions. In addition to its many beautiful scenic vistas, Central New York is rich in American history. Visitors to the area can visit the Erie Canal Village, Fort Stanwix National Monument, the Oriskany Battlefield and the Baron Von Steuben Memorial.
Also nearby are the Adirondack Park, The National Baseball Hall of Fame, an antique collectorís paradise, The Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute, the Stanley Performing Arts Center and Turning Stone Casino.
Culturally, recreationally and aesthically Clinton is a wonderful place to visit and a great place to live.
The Clinton Chamber of Commerce,Inc represents businesses and organizations in the villages of Clinton, Clarks Mills, Westmoreland, Franklin Springs and the Town of Kirkland. For more information contact: The Clinton Chamber of Commerce,Inc. P.O. Box 142, Clinton, NY 13323; 315-853-1735.