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Onondaga County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Yorkmarker. As of the 2000 census, the population was 458,336. The estimated population for 2004 is 459,805, an increase of 0.3%. The county seat is Syracusemarker.

Onondaga County is part of the Syracuse, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The name Onondaga derives from the name of the Native American people who lived here, who called themselves Onoda'gega, sometimes spelled Onontakeka. The word means "People of the Hills." Sometimes the term was Onondagaono ("The People of the Hills"). Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) people continue to reside in a separate nation within Onondaga County.


When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Onondaga County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermontmarker and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Oceanmarker. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectadymarker, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.

In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canadamarker. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery Countymarker to honor the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebecmarker, replacing the name of the hated British governor.

In 1789, the size of Montgomery County was reduced by the splitting off of Ontario Countymarker from Montgomery. The actual area split off from Montgomery County was much larger than the present county, also including the present Alleganymarker, Cattaraugusmarker, Chautauquamarker, Eriemarker, Geneseemarker, Livingstonmarker, Monroemarker, Niagaramarker, Orleansmarker, Steubenmarker, Wyomingmarker, Yatesmarker, and part of Schuylermarker and Wayne Countiesmarker.

In 1791, Herkimer County was one of three counties split off from Montgomery (the other two being Otsegomarker, and Tioga Countymarker). This was much larger than the present county, however, and was reduced by a number of subsequent splits.

In 1794, Onondaga County was split off from Herkimer County. This county was larger than the current Onondaga County, including the present Cayugamarker, Cortlandmarker, and part of Oswego Countiesmarker.

In 1799, Cayuga Countymarker was split off from Onondaga.

In 1808, Cortland Countymarker was split off from Onondaga.

In 1816, parts of Oneida and Onondaga Counties were taken to form the new Oswego Countymarker.

Central New York developed rapidly after the New Military Tract provided land to Revolutionary War veterans. Migration was largely from the east, mostly from New England states. The Genesee Road, which became the Seneca Turnpike in 1800, provided access. Generally settlers preferred higher land, since they associated lowlands will disease. In time, as hillside soil was eroded by early clearing and farming, valley lands were more fertile and highly prized for agriculture as well as for water power, which was the origin of many communities. One of the settlers around 1823 was James Hutchinson Woodworth, a native of Washington County, NY (a region of New York that at times was contested by Vermont); he helped clear land for his family's farm in this region before going on to Chicago where he became Mayor.

The city of Syracusemarker, New Yorkmarker developed relatively late, due to its marshy situation. The highland village of Pompeymarker, New Yorkmarker on the Seneca Turnpike in contrast was more important at an earlier date. Population of rural towns was greatest in the late nineteenth century, when more land was cultivated and farms were relatively small, supporting large households. Since that time, agriculture has declined in the county. Some Onondaga County towns like Spafford, New York were largely depopulated, many villages becoming veritable ghost towns. Onondaga County highlands now are more heavily reforested, with public parks and preserves providing recreation. Two Finger Lakesmarker in the county, Skaneateles and Otisco, also attract visitors. The village of Skaneatelesmarker on scenic Route 20 has become a major tourist destination.

At the turn of the twenty-first century, population declined in the City of Syracuse while suburban communities generally grew, particularly with tract developments north of the city. Elsewhere, scattered commuter houses appeared, generally on fairly large parcels. The Village of Skaneateles and shores of Skaneateles Lake attracted rapid development, demand for property increasing property values remarkably.


Onondaga County is in the west central portion of New York State, west of Uticamarker, east of Rochestermarker and north of Ithacamarker. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 806 square miles (2,087 km²), of which, 780 square miles (2,021 km²)is land and 25 square miles (66 km²)(3.15%) is water. Onondaga Lakemarker is bordered by many of the larger communities in the county.

The northern part of the county is fairly level lake plain, extending northward to Lake Ontariomarker. Oneida Lakemarker three rivers, as well as the Erie and subsequent Barge Canals are in the lake plain. The main line of the New York Central Railroad and the New York State Thruway extend east and west across the county through the lake plain. The southern part of the county is Appalachian Plateaumarker, with high hills rising at the southern edge of Syracusemarker. This is the eastern part of the Finger Lakesmarker region. Skaneateles Lakemarker and Otisco Lakemarker are both in Onondaga County. US 20 extends east and west across the county, traversing dramatic hill-and-valley terrain. Between the lake plain and Appalachian highlands is a zone noted for drumlins, smaller, scattered hills formed as mounds of debris left by the last glacier. Tully is geologically noted for the terminal moraine deposited there by the glacier, filling the deep Tully Valley, which might have been another Finger Lake, had the moraine been left closer to Syracuse, impounding water. Tully is at the divide between two major watersheds, one flowing northward to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the St. Lawrence Rivermarker and the other southward to the ocean vie the Susquehanna River. Onieda Lake, the Finger Lakes, and smaller bodies of water provide recreation. Several ski slopes are located in the Appalachian hills, where there are waterfalls and historic villages as attractions, as well as parks and large forest preserves.

Adjacent counties

Major highways


As of the census of 2000, there were 458,336 people, 181,153 households, and 115,394 families residing in the county. The population density was 587 people per square mile (227/km²). There were 196,633 housing units at an average density of 252 per square mile (97/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.78% White, 9.38% African American, 0.86% Native American, 2.09% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.89% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.44% of the population. 17.5% were of Italian, 16.2% Irish, 12.4% German, 9.4% English and 6.0% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.4% spoke English, 2.4% Spanish and 1.1% Italian as their first language.

Skaneateles Lake is one of the Finger Lakes located in Onondaga County.

There were 181,153 households out of which 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.90% were married couples living together, 12.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.30% were non-families. 29.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.80% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 28.80% from 25 to 44, 22.10% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,847, and the median income for a family was $51,876. Males had a median income of $39,048 versus $27,154 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,336. About 8.60% of families and 12.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.50% of those under age 18 and 7.10% of those age 65 or over.

Demographic trends (2006): County population has decreased from a high in 1970. Increasing number of housing units apparently is due to smaller family units and more individuals living alone. While the City of Syracuse population has declined, some suburban towns have grown.

Government and Politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democrat
2008 38.94% 84,972 59.25% 129,317
2004 43.81% 94,006 54.23% 116,381
2000 41.09% 83,678 53.97% 109,896
1996 37.84% 73,771 51.40% 100,190
1992 36.13% 77,642 42.18% 90,645
1988 51.91% 104,080 47.26% 94,751
1984 59.64% 121,857 40.03% 81,777
1980 50.65% 97,887 38.00% 73,453
1976 59.95% 115,474 39.51% 76,097
1972 69.18% 140,039 30.58% 61,895
1968 50.46% 95,806 44.02% 83,576
1964 32.92% 63,205 66.99% 128,630
1960 54.08% 107,170 45.84% 90,836

Onondaga County was governed exclusively by a board of supervisors until 1961, when voters approved the creation of the county executive. In 1968, the board reorganized into a 24-seat county legislature. In 2001, the legislature was reduced to 19 seats. All 19 members are elected from individual districts. The county executive is elected in a countywide vote.

Onondaga County Executives
Name Party Term
John H. Mulroy Republican January 1, 1962 – December 31, 1987
Nicholas J. Pirro Republican January 1, 1988 – December 31, 2007
Joanne M. Mahoney Republican January 1, 2008 –

Cities, towns, villages, and hamlets

A map of towns and cities located in Onondaga County, NY

Syracusemarker is the only city in Onondaga County.The following is a complete list of official towns and villages, and principal hamlet:
:{|border=1 cellspacing="0" cellpadding="3"
:Villages and hamlets labeled "(in part)" span the border between multiple towns.

Indian reservations

See also


External links

Amboy, Belle Isle, Fairmountmarker, Memphismarker (in part), Warners (in part)
North Syracusemarker (in part)
Brewertonmarker, Bridgeportmarker, Cicero, Cicero Center, South Bay
North Syracusemarker (in part)
Bayberry, Belgium, Clay, Euclid, Moyers Corners, Oak Orchard, Three Rivers, Woodard
East Syracuse marker
Barton's Corners, Collamer , DeWitt , Jamesvillemarker, Lyndon, Messina Springs
Elbridgemarker, Jordanmarker
Halfway, Hart Lot
Apulia, Apulia Station
Lakelandmarker, New York State Fairgrounds, Westvalemarker
Bailey's Settlement, Cardiffmarker, Collingwood, LaFayette, Onativia
Baldwinsvillemarker (in part)
Baird Corners, Cold Springs, Hortontown, Jacksonville, Lampson, Little Utica, Lysander, Plainvillemarker, Radisson, West Phoenix, Wrights Corners
Fayettevillemarker, Manliusmarker, Minoamarker
Eagle Village, Freemont, Highbridge, Kirkvillemarker, Manlius Center, North Manlius, Polkville, Poolsbrook
Clintonville, Marcellus Falls, Marietta, Rose Hill, Thorn Hill
Cedarvale, Howlett Hill, Indian Village, Navarino, Nedrowmarker, Onondaga Hillmarker, South Onondaga, Southwood, Split Rockmarker, Tauntonmarker
Amber, Marietta, Otisco
Delphi, Delphi Fallsmarker, Oranmarker, Pompey, Pompey Center, Watervale
Galevillemarker, Hinsdale, Long Branch, Mattydalemarker
Long Bridge, Mandana, Marysville, Mottvillemarker, Shepard Settlement, Skaneateles Fallsmarker, Skanondaga Heights, Willow Glen,
Borodino, South Spaffordmarker, Spafford
Van Burenmarker
Baldwinsvillemarker (in part)
Memphismarker (in part), Van Buren, Warners (in part)

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