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Early History

The earliest settlement in Ogdensburg dates back to 1749 when the celebrated Sulpician missionary Father Picquet founded his mission on the banks of the St. Lawrence at the mouth of the Oswegatchie River.

He built Fort La Presentation upon the site of an old Indian village named Swa-gatch. The area was the northern terminus of an original Indian trail that ran from the Mohawk Valley to the St. Lawrence. The City developed into an important port of entry and railroad center during the 19th and early 20th centuries, with extensive trade in lumber and grains.

Natural Resources

Throughout Ogdensburg's history the principal branches of industry in St. Lawrence County have relied on the nearby rivers and the bountiful resources common to the North Country. They have included all aspects of lumbering and paper production, boat building, merchant and custom milling, foundry, and machine work.

Capitalizing on its location at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Oswegatchie rivers, the City has been a seaport since the early 19th century. The completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959 connected the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean and opened the area to unprecedented industrial expansion.

Recommended Reading

If you are interested in a more comprehensive photographic history of Ogdensburg and St. Lawrence County, we recommend Ted Como's "Ogdensburg, New York - A Photo History."

The Lily, the Lion, and the Eagle Podcast
Elizabeth Baxter, former city historian wrote a fantastic book, "The Lily, the Lion, and the Eagle", about the early history of Ogdensburg, which was never published. Julie Madlin, the current City Historian, is making podcasts for each chapter. Below you will find links to the chapters, subsequent chapters will be provided as available.  We hope you'll give them a listen...

Chapter 1  Chapter 31
Chapter 2  Chapter 32
Chapter 3  Chapter 33
Chapter 4  Chapter 34
Chapter 5  Chapter 35
Chapter 6  Chapter 36
Chapter 7  Chapter 37
Chapter 8  Chapter 38
Chapter 9  Chapter 39
Chapter 10  Chapter 40
Chapter 11  Chapter 41
Chapter 12  Chapter 42
Chapter 13  Chapter 43
Chapter 14  Chapter 44
Chapter 15  Chapter 45
Chapter 16  Chapter 46
Chapter 17  Chapter 47
Chapter 18  Chapter 48
Chapter 19  Chapter 49
Chapter 20  Chapter 50
Chapter 21  Chapter 51
Chapter 22  Chapter 52
Chapter 23  Chapter 53
Chapter 24  Chapter 54
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30

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