Hale is proud to be a part of such a thriving community as the Utica area. Part of having pride in our community is knowing our history. Hale has started looking into the history of our great city, and what better place to start than the beginning?
The Utica area is located at the shallowest spot along the Mohawk River which made it the best place for fording across, and an Iroquois Indian crossroads and fording location made trade exceedingly easy for local merchants. With a shallow spot on the river that was already inhabited by trading partners, the location was ideal for a settlement.
A blacksmith named Moses Bagg constructed a small bar near Old Fort Schuyler to accommodate exhausted travelers waiting for their horse’s shoes to be mended. After just a few years this little tavern became a two-story inn and pub known as Bagg’s Hotel. A Long Island carpenter, Apollos Cooper, erected the first bridge over the Mohawk River in the summer of 1792.
The legendary tale of where the name Utica comes from is that citizens met at the Bagg’s Tavern to discuss the name of the developing village. Unable to settle on one name, Erastus Clark’s entrant of “Utica” was mentioned, and the village thereafter became associated with Utica, Tunisia, the ancient Carthaginian city.
Utica was officially declared a village in 1798. By 1817 the population had reached 2,860 people. Genesee Street was packed with storefronts; a thriving carriage line, a bank, The Utica Observer, five churches as well as two hotels were all located within this center square of Utica. Due to reduced harvests in 1789 and 1802 – and dreaming of land ownership – the initial settlement of five Welsh families soon appealed other agricultural migrants, settling Steuben, Utica and Remsen townships. The Welsh became the first to introduce dairy farming into the region and Welsh butter became a valued commodity on the New York market.