The Town of Herkimer was settled by Palatines from the lower Rhine in Germany. In 1722, Governor William Burnet purchased the lands westward along the river from Little Falls to Utica from the Mohawk Indians. This constituted the Burnetsfield Patent of April 30, 1725. Ninety-four people representing thirty-eight families were granted parcels consisting of 100 acres.
This was one of the most populated and settled areas along the Mohawk River. A ford at Herkimer connected the north and south shore; the two colonial neighborhood centers of Palatine Village (Herkimer), on the north bank, and that of Herkimer (Fort Herkimer) on the south bank.
The Town of Herkimer was named so through an error.
In 1788, following the Revolution, the New York State Legislature met in Poughkeepsie to erect new towns in what was then Montgomery County. The names of German Flatts and Herkimer had been agreed upon to designate the two towns. Dr. William Petry met Honorable Simeon DeWitt, Surveyor-General of the State of New York, who had maps and a survey before him. DeWitt asked the doctor as to the situation of each. Looking up the river, (toward the west), Dr. Petry answered, "Herkimer is on the left and German Flatts is on the right." DeWitt, assuming the doctor meant the right and left banks of the Mohawk, as the stream flowed, wrote the names on the map in reverse order. The name of Herkimer had been intended for the territory south of the river where the historic Herkimer family first settled and where the Herkimer Home is situated to this day. The error in understanding was enacted into law.
All or parts of 10 present townships in Herkimer County were taken from the Town of Herkimer. Today, the total area of the Town of Herkimer is 32.2 square miles and 2.8 square miles are within the corporate limits of the Village of Herkimer. The town maintains 23.8 miles and the village 29.27 miles of highways, streets and roads for a total of 53.07 miles.
The town as is the village and the county is named after Nicholas Herkimer (Herchheimer; c. 1728 – August 16, 1777) who was an American patriot militia brigadier general during the American Revolutionary War. He died of wounds after the Battle of Oriskany.
Census figures from 1990- 2010 consistently show approximately 2,300 people residing in the Town outside the Village of Herkimer and approximately 7,9000 within the village, for a total of approximately 10,200. Other population centers in the town includes the hamlets of East Herkimer and Kast Bridge and the Petrie Development.
New York State Routes 5 and 28 are the major thoroughfares through the town with Route 5 running east and west and Route 28 running north and south. The town is located off of Exit 30 of the New York State Thruway.
The West Canada Creek flows south through the eastern section of the town while the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal flows easterly through the southern section of the town. (map)
Most retail and commercial opportunities are found in the Village of Herkimer while the town features an Industrial Park home to ELG Utica Alloys and Herkimer Distribution and a Town Park.
The Town of Herkimer is governed by a Town Supervisor and four members of the Town Council. Two other positions of major importance to town government are the Town Clerk and the Superintendent of Highways. All these positions are elected and operate within powers specifically granted to them, principally in the Town Law.
Current News & Events
Town of Herkimer property values went to full market value, (100% assessment), in 2006.
There has been growth in the Town of Herkimer recently. A large
The Town is the site of plenty of fishing access sites both along the West Canada Creek and the Mohawk River. The West Canada also provides kayaking opportunities and the Erie Canal provides access to boating experience. Also, the Erie Canal Cruise Inc. provides a full menu of canal cruising with access at Gems Along the Mohawk and the Waterfront Grille. The Town operates a family-friendly Community Park in East Herkimer and within the Village the Arc Park provides recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. Within the Town are two championship public golf courses: Holland Heights and the Mohawk Valley Country Club. The winter months feature many snowmobile and snow showing trails.
The Village of Herkimer, which celebrated its 200th birthday in 2006, is the seat of Herkimer County Government. Also located within the Village is the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce, Herkimer County Community College, Gems Along the Mohawk and the Historic Four Corners.