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The Town of Barton was formed on March 23, 1824 and is located in the southwestern corner of Tioga County, encompassing 60 square miles. Barton was formed in 1824, and includes the Village of Waverly. One of the most interesting points in the town was the J.E. Rodeo Ranch, when throughout the 1940s and 1950s, it was the only rodeo ranch east of the Mississippi River.
Waverly is the largest village in Tioga County. It was incorporated 1854. Several factories of historical significance were located in Waverly. They included the Hall-Lyons furniture factory which was located on Broad Street and the Manoil Manufacturing Co. whose prominence as a toy company, especially from 1937-1941 when it produced hollow-cast toy soldiers, along with toy airplanes and cars, was located on Providence Street. Attractions in Waverly include Two Rivers State Park, and the Susquehanna River Archaeological Center of Native Indian Studies.
The Town of Berkshire was originally settled in 1791 as Brown’s Settlement and encompassed all of present Berkshire, Newark Valley and Richford. Berkshire is rural in nature with several active dairy farms and a variety of other agricultural enterprises. Attractions include SweeTrees Maple Sugar Shack, where visitors can tour the sugar shack, and sample delicious maple sugar products.
Settled in 1794, the Town of Candor was separated from Spencer in 1811, and the Village was incorporated in 1900. Today it is a town containing 5,500 residents. Over the years Candor has enjoyed many small to medium businesses and industries, including the Candor Woolen Mills, which in the 1800s, manufactured 30,000 yards of cloth per annum. Today, there are over 100 small to mid-size businesses with many employing anywhere from 3 to 40 local residents. Attractions include Candor’s four-day celebration of the 4th of July, and the Fall Festival, A Rare Day In June (the annual National Wild Turkey Celebrity Hunt), Canducky Derby, the Catatonk Canoe Regatta, and the annual Breakfast with Santa in December are a few of the more popular events held in Candor.
The first permanent settlers arrived around 1791. This area was called Brown’s Settlement and was part of the Town of Berkshire until it was organized as the “Town of Westville” in 1823. In 1824, the town changed its name to “Newark,” but then changed the name to Newark Valley in 1862, to avoid conflict with the name of a village in Wayne County. Attractions include the annual Apple Festival, a unique festival celebrating apples, but set in a village from 200 years ago, and the Bement-Billings Farmstead Musuem, a living history site that interprets the period c.1810. buildings include an English threshing barn, an outhouse, a sap house, a blacksmith shop, a small barn and a farmer’s workshop on 95 acres. The Farmstead is open to the public on weekends from the first weekend in July until the Apple Festival, the first weekend in October.
Nichols was named after a Colonel Nichols, a civic-minded landowner, and formally established as a town in 1824. The biggest attraction in Nichols is the Tioga Downs Casino and Racetrack. Tioga Downs originated as a quarter horse race track back in 1974 known as Tioga Park. The track was revived and refinished to become the 5/8 mile harness racetrack we know today as Tioga Downs Casino in 2006. Tioga Downs features some of the top harness stake races in the country including the Grand Circuit Tompkins Geers, The $300,000 Cane Pace (1st leg of Pacing’s Triple Crown) and it’s lady counterpart The Shady Daisy.
The Town of Owego is located in the southeast corner of Tioga County, and was formed on March 14, 1800. Before white settlers came to the Town of Owego it was occupied by the Onondaga and Cayuga Indians Tribes. The most dramatic growth in the Town of Owego occurred in the 1950s when International Business Machines built a military facility on route 17C and employed about five thousand people. Today, the plant is owned by Lockheed Martin. In 2009, the Village of Owego was named Budget and Travel Magazine’s as the Coolest Small Town in America. Attractions include the annual Strawberry Festival, Hickories Park, a popular park offering camping, sand volleyball, ball fields, pavilions, rollerblading, biking, and other outdoor activities, and more.
Apalachin is a small hamlet in Tioga County. The first settler arrived around 1786, but the community was not founded until 1836. Apalachin hosts the annual Apalachin Firemens Field Days for four days generally the first week in June. This event began in the late 1950s and has grown from a small event in a field to having a permanent location with large pavilions (still called the beer and food tents by locals) and a large square of game booths that surround 15-20 carnival rides.
Richford is located in the northeast corner of Tioga County. Its hills are the highest in the county at 2000 feet above sea level. The town was formed from Berkshire, first as the town of Arlington in 1831. Its name was changed by an act of legislature in 1832, the same year the town was officially organized. Richford has over 4,700 acres of state lands, more than all other towns in Tioga County combined, mostly contained in six large state forests. The town is well known for its annual Potato Festival, held every year on the third Saturday of September to celebrate the significance of potato farming in Richford’s history. Oil titan and founder of the Standard Oil company John D. Rockefeller was born in this town and returned to visit during the summer.
Around 1794, Benjamin Drake settled along Catatonk Creek in what is now the Village of Spencer. He built the first frame building, later known as Purdy’s Tavern at 45 North Main Street. He also built the first gristmill. The settlement was called “Drake Settlement” until 1806 when the town was organized and named “Spencer.”
The Town of Tioga is located in the center of the county. The primary industry is agriculture. Tioga Central School, located in the hamlet of Tioga Center along NYS Route 17C, prides itself in offering high quality education with first-class facilities in a rural setting. The town includes Ransom Park, a public park that hosts many community picnics, youth sporting events, and the annual Tioga Center Pumpkin Festival. The Skyview Drags & Shangri-La II Motor Speedway provide motor sports entertainment and attractions. There are 4 hamlets in the Town of Tioga, they include Tioga Center, Smithboro, Halsey Valley, and Straits Corners.
Tioga County Tourism
Visitor’s Center / 80 North Avenue / Owego, NY 13827
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
607-687-7440 or 1-800-671-7772