Historical and Tourism information for the village of Port Byron and the town of Mentz, New York
Village of Port Byron
Port Byron is an incorporated Village, which in New York means it has its own government. Port Byron is a one mile square set into the Town of Mentz, and is the only village in the town. Port Byron is located in the Town of Mentz, which has its own government. Both government offices are located within the village limits.
Port Byron had its beginnings as a settlement in the Military Tract, and its first white settler, Philip King, came around 1795. The settlement, which some called King’s Settlement, grew as a milling place on the Owasco River. Later, the Buck family moved in purchasing a large amount of the land and changing the name to Bucksville. In 1820, the Erie Canal was opened and a village quickly grew. In 1825, the settlement changed its name from Bucksville to Port Byron. The death of the poet Lord Byron may have figured into the name, but there is no definitive proof.
The canal operated between the years of 1820 to 1917. In 1851, the New York Central Railroad was built about a mile north of the village, and in 1884, the West Shore Railroad was built along the northern edge of the village. In 1908, the Rochester, Syracuse and Eastern Interurban Trolley began service, connecting Port Byron to Auburn and to Syracuse and Rochester. Throughout the years, the central focus of the village remained the canal, and the canal shaped the way the village grew. In 1918, the canal began to use its new route two miles north of the village, and the canal era was over. With the fast trolley in operation, the village became a bedroom community, with people finding work in Auburn and Syracuse. When the trolley line shut down in 1931, people shifted their commutes to cars but the village remained a bedroom community, which holds true to the present day.
Lock 52 Historical Society of Port Byron, NY
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