10 Oldest Cities In New York

We scoured the internet to determine the towns and cities in New York that have been around the longest.

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You might think your town is old, but it probably isn’t the oldest in the country.

That is unless you live in St. Augustine, FL. Which looks pretty good for being 454 years old.

That’s older than America for those playing at home.

So that got us thinking, what is the oldest city in New York? And how old is that when you put it into perspective of St. Augustine or American Independence in 1776?

Because even if your New York city or town is old, it isn’t really all that old in the grand scheme of things. For example, the Pyramids in Egypt were built around 2600 BC, a cool 4100 years before St. Augustine.

And now that we have you thinking about how the time line of your existence is really kind of unimpressive on the timeline of history, let’s drop right into the analysis.

These are the 10 oldest cities and towns in the Empire State according to their ‘date of foundation’:

  1. Yonkers (Photos)
  2. Scarsdale (Photos)
  3. Saratoga Springs (Photos)
  4. Utica (Photos)
  5. Floral Park (Photos)
  6. New Hyde Park (Photos)
  7. Johnstown (Photos)
  8. Hudson Falls (Photos)
  9. Auburn (Photos)
  10. Plattsburgh (Photos)

For being 372 years old, Yonkers doesn’t look a day over 40. And the newest city in New York? That would be Mastic Beach — a brand spanking 8 years old.

Read on for a look at the oldest places in New York or feel free to check out the best places to live in New York or the safest.

How We Determined When A City Was Founded In New York… Or Is It Settled?

Surprisingly, there’s not a definitive data set that contains the dates of incorporation or settlement for cities in America. Put differently, there’s no official data set from the Census that contains when every place in America was founded.

So what did we do instead?

Use the internet’s version of official government data — Wikipedia of course!

For the majority of cities in New York, Wikipedia offers data on some kind of ‘date of foundation’ in the infobox. Unfortunately, because it’s Wikipedia and not a sprawling government bureaucracy, that can take the form of any of the following nomenclature (plus others):

  • Founded
  • Settled
  • Incorporated
  • Approved
  • Chartered

And then even more stuff — for example Atlanta has a ‘Terminus’ date, whatever that is.

If no ‘date of foundation’ was found in the infobox, we looked to the general text in the History section of the city for ‘Founded in XXXX’.

All in all, we were able to collect data on 214 out of 345 in New York with over 5,000 people. That’s good for a 62.0% completion rate.

We then ranked them from oldest to newest with Yonkers turning out to be the matriarch of New York at the ripe old age of 372.

Here’s a look at the top ten and a snippet of their history from Wikipedia.

1. Yonkers

Yonkers, New York

Population: 200,999
Founded: 1646
Age: 372
The land on which the city is built was once part of a 24,000-acre (97-square-kilometer) land grant called Colen Donck that ran from the current Manhattan-Bronx border at Marble Hill northwards for 12 miles (19 km), and from the Hudson River eastwards to the Bronx River. This grant was purchased in July 1645 by Adriaen van der Donck, the first lawyer in North America. Van der Donck was known locally as the Jonkheer or Jonker (etymologically, ‘young gentleman,’ derivation of old Dutch jong (young) and heer (‘lord’); in effect, ‘Esquire’), a word from which the name ‘Yonkers’ is directly derived. Van der Donck built a saw mill near where the Nepperhan Creek met the Hudson; the Nepperhan is now also known as the Saw Mill River. Van der Donck was killed in the Peach War. His wife, Mary Doughty, was taken captive and ransomed later.

Near the site of van der Donck’s mill is Philipse Manor Hall, a Colonial-era manor house which today serves as a museum and archive, offering many glimpses into life before the American Revolution. The original structure (later enlarged) was built around 1682 by Frederick Philipse and his wife Margaret Hardenbroeck. Frederick was a wealthy Dutchman who by the time of his death had amassed an enormous estate, which encompassed the entire modern City of Yonkers, as well as several other Hudson River towns. Philipse’s great-grandson, Frederick Philipse III, was a prominent Loyalist during the American Revolution, who, because of his political leanings, was forced to flee to England. All the lands that belonged to the Philipse family were confiscated and sold.

2. Scarsdale

Scarsdale, New York

Population: 17,856
Founded: 1701
Age: 317
Caleb Heathcote purchased the land that would become Scarsdale at the end of the 17th century and, on March 21, 1701, had it elevated to a royal manor. He named the lands after his ancestral home in Derbyshire, England. The first local census of 1712 counted twelve inhabitants, including seven African slaves. When Caleb died in 1721, his daughters inherited the property. The estate was broken up in 1774, and the town was officially founded on March 7, 1788.

3. Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs, New York

Population: 27,682
Founded: 1776
Age: 242
The picturesque area was occupied by the Algonquian-speaking Mahican Indians before they were pushed out by European settlement, both Dutch and British colonists. They eventually moved east and became allied with other remnant peoples and became known as the Stockbridge Indians, as they settled near Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

4. Utica

Utica, New York

Population: 61,114
Founded: 1798
Age: 220
Utica was established on the site of Old Fort Schuyler, built by English colonists for defense in 1758 during the French and Indian War, the North American front of the Seven Years’ War against France. Prior to construction of the fort, the Mohawk, Onondaga and Oneida tribes had occupied this area south of the Great Lakes region as early as 4000 BC. The Mohawk were the largest and most powerful tribe in the eastern part of the Mohawk Valley. Colonists had a longstanding fur trade with them, in exchange for firearms and rum. The tribe’s dominating presence in the region prevented the Province of New York from expanding past the middle of the Mohawk Valley until after the American Revolutionary War, when the Iroquois were forced to cede their lands as allies of the defeated British.

5. Floral Park

Floral Park, New York

Population: 16,269
Founded: 1800
Age: 218
The area that is now Floral Park once marked the western edge of the great Hempstead Plains, and by some reports was initially known as Plainfield. Farms and tiny villages dominated the area through the 1870s when the development of the Long Island Rail Road Hempstead Branch and Jericho Turnpike cut through the area. Hinsdale had more than two dozen flower farms after the Civil War. The present-day village of Floral Park was once called East Hinsdale.

6. New Hyde Park

New Hyde Park, New York

Source: Public domain

Population: 9,906
Founded: 1800
Age: 218
Thomas Dongan, the fourth royal governor of New York, was granted an 800-acre parcel of land in 1683 that included New Hyde Park. It was known as ‘Dongan’s Farm.’ Dongan built a mansion on what is now Lakeville Road. In 1691 Dongan fled to New England and then Ireland, as King James II and his Catholic forces failed to regain power in England and Ireland.

7. Johnstown

Johnstown, New York

Population: 8,358
Founded: 1803
Age: 215
Johnstown, originally ‘John’s Town’, was founded in 1762 by Sir William Johnson, a Baronet who named it after his son John Johnson. William Johnson came to the British colony of New York from Ireland in 1732. He was a trader who learned American Indian languages and culture, forming close relationships with many Native American leaders. He was appointed as the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, as well as a major general in the British forces during the French and Indian War (Seven Years’ War). His alliances with the Iroquois were significant to the war.

8. Hudson Falls

Hudson Falls, New York

Population: 7,174
Founded: 1810
Age: 208
In 1764, Albert Baker built Kingsbury’s first sawmill near what is known today as Baker’s Falls. As early as 1792, the area of Kingsbury near Baker’s Falls was referred to as Sandy Hill. In 1810, the hamlet incorporated as a village, keeping the name Sandy Hill. Its boundaries expanded to their current limits in the 1840s. In 1910, the village’s name was changed to Hudson Falls.

9. Auburn

Auburn, New York

Population: 26,962
Founded: 1815
Age: 203
The region around Auburn had been Haudenosaunee territory for centuries before European contact and historical records.

10. Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, New York

Population: 19,734
Founded: 1815
Age: 203
Beginning with Samuel de Champlain’s expedition into the Lake Champlain valley in 1609, the Plattsburgh region began to come under the French influence and later passed under English and finally American control. The early French contact and its closeness to Quebec made this an historically French area. Located in the extended fur trade network in the Montreal hinterland, the Plattsburgh area was the realm of the coureur des bois, who served the larger trading hub in Montreal.

Oh How Time Flies For The Oldest Towns And Cities In New York

So there you have it, a look at some of the oldest places to live in New York. If we missed your city’s ‘date of foundation’, let us know in the comments. Or feel free to take a look at the table of the oldest places in New York.

And now, let’s raise our glasses, to the next 100 years of existence for these cities and towns in the Empire State.

And for those wondering, here are the newest additions to New York:

  1. Mastic Beach (Founded in 2010)
  2. Spring Valley (Founded in 2010)
  3. Westmere (Founded in 2010)
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  • Detailed List Of The Oldest Cities In New York

    City Rank Age Year Founded
    Yonkers 1 372 1646
    Scarsdale 2 317 1701
    Saratoga Springs 3 242 1776
    Utica 4 220 1798
    Floral Park 5 218 1800
    New Hyde Park 6 218 1800
    Johnstown 7 215 1803
    Hudson Falls 8 208 1810
    Auburn 9 203 1815
    Plattsburgh 10 203 1815
    Peekskill 11 202 1816
    Rochester 12 201 1817
    Syracuse 13 193 1825
    Waterloo 14 189 1829
    Seneca Falls 15 189 1829
    Binghamton 16 184 1834
    Glens Falls 17 179 1839
    Newark 18 165 1853
    Stony Point 19 153 1865
    Nyack 20 135 1883
    Briarcliff Manor 21 128 1890
    Pleasantville 22 121 1897
    Ogdensburg 23 116 1902
    Canandaigua 24 114 1904
    Middle Island 25 114 1904
    Sleepy Hollow 26 114 1904
    Albertson 27 114 1904
    Potsdam 28 114 1904
    Fredonia 29 114 1904
    Hamburg 30 114 1904
    Williamsville 31 114 1904
    Amityville 32 114 1904
    Rensselaer 33 114 1904
    Inwood 34 114 1904
    Suffern 35 114 1904
    Blauvelt 36 114 1904
    Corning 37 114 1904
    Gates 38 114 1904
    Massena 39 114 1904
    Mount Kisco 40 114 1904
    Ballston Spa 41 114 1904
    Babylon 42 114 1904
    Dunkirk 43 114 1904
    Mount Sinai 44 114 1904
    Hampton Bays 45 114 1904
    Ridge 46 114 1904
    Stony Brook 47 114 1904
    Jericho 48 114 1904
    Olean 49 114 1904
    Setauket-East Setauket 50 114 1904
    Airmont 51 114 1904
    New Windsor 52 114 1904
    Goshen 53 114 1904
    Malone 54 114 1904
    Washingtonville 55 114 1904
    Medina 56 114 1904
    Larchmont 57 114 1904
    East Aurora 58 114 1904
    Oyster Bay 59 114 1904
    Yaphank 60 114 1904
    Bath 61 114 1904
    Solvay 62 114 1904
    Monticello 63 114 1904
    Horseheads 64 114 1904
    Orange Lake 65 114 1904
    Canton 66 114 1904
    Walden 67 114 1904
    Warwick 68 114 1904
    Port Jervis 69 114 1904
    Southport 70 114 1904
    Pelham 71 114 1904
    New Paltz 72 114 1904
    Saranac Lake 73 114 1904
    Big Flats 74 114 1904
    Herkimer 75 114 1904
    Northport 76 114 1904
    Beacon 77 114 1904
    Oakdale 78 114 1904
    Scotia 79 114 1904
    Old Bethpage 80 114 1904
    Ilion 81 114 1904
    Manhasset 82 114 1904
    Port Jefferson Station 83 114 1904
    Hornell 84 114 1904
    Norwich 85 114 1904
    New York 86 114 1904
    Haverstraw 87 114 1904
    Plainview 88 114 1904
    Troy 89 114 1904
    Wantagh 90 114 1904
    Valley Stream 91 114 1904
    Mamaroneck 92 114 1904
    East Northport 93 114 1904
    North Bellmore 94 114 1904
    East Meadow 95 114 1904
    Elmont 96 114 1904
    Eastchester 97 114 1904
    New City 98 114 1904
    Selden 99 114 1904
    Hauppauge 100 114 1904

    About Chris Kolmar

    Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

    He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

    If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

    You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.