Binghamton, New York (NY)
Historical Notes

1802: First courthouse built at the corner of Court and Chenango streets.  

1806: Christ Episcopal Church, the first religious organization in what would become the city, founded; and Binghamton doctor Elihu Ely helped found Broome County Medical Society.

1808: First Court Street Bridge built.

1817: First public stagecoach through the village established. It ran from Owego to Newburgh.

1823: Broome County Republican, later The Sun-Bulletin, started publication.

1825: First Washington Street Bridge built.

1828: New York State legislature approved construction of Rockbottom Dam.

1833: State legislature approved construction of Chenango Canal linking Binghamton and Utica.

1834: Village of Binghamton incorporated.

1836: First Binghamton fire company, made up of volunteers, organized.

1840: First history book, The Annals of Binghamton, published by John B. Wilkinson.

1844: Daniel S. Dickinson elected to U.S. Senate. He served until 1850.

1845: Death of Joshua A. Whitney II, founder of Binghamton.

1848: Arrival of first train on the Erie Railroad.

1853: Binghamton Gas Light Co. organized.

1854: Lester Brothers Boot & Shoe Co., later Endicott-Johnson Corp., incorporated in Binghamton.

1857: Laying of the cornerstone for the New York Inebriate Asylum, now the Binghamton Psychiatric Center.

1861: State legislature approved formation of the public school system; and the Starr Arms Co. opened as a leading weapons manufacturer during the Civil War.

1867: Binghamton incorporated as a city.

1868: First city water system organized.

1869: Albany and Susquehanna Railroad, now the Delaware and Hudson, opened.

1872: First Binghamton Central High School opened on Main Street.

1875: Chenango Canal closed permanently, its route becoming State Street; Ross Park deeded to the city by Erastus and Cornelia F. Ross; and the Dwight Block was built as a luxury hotel in what is now Binghamton's First Ward.

1878: Dr. Kilmer & Co. Patent Medicine, maker of "Swamp Root" and other patent medicines, opened in Binghamton. Willis Kilmer began The Binghamton Press in 1904. He also owned the 1918 Kentucky Derby winner, Exterminator.

1880: Binghamton Club chartered; and the first telephone exchange was installed at 84 Court St. The first list of subscribers totaled 49.

1883: The first electric light with portable generator was lit by some merchants during Christmas season.

1886: Present Washington Street Bridge built. It now is on the National Register of Historic Places.

1889: Bundy Manufacturing Co. established at 40 Commercial Ave. It later became IBM Corp.

1890: Strike of cigar industry workers.

1892: Stone Opera opened in Binghamton as a top theater and Vaudeville house. It later became the Riviera Theater.

1897: Cornerstone laid for old City Hall, now The Grand Royale hotel.

1899: First automobile brought to Binghamton by Joseph Pond Noyes.

1903: Cornerstone laid for former Binghamton Public Library on Exchange Street.

1904: The Binghamton Press, later The Evening Press, was founded, and the Press Building and Security Mutual Building were built in downtown.

1905: Tornado hit Binghamton's South Side.

1911: Broome County Farm Bureau, the first such agency in the United States, began operations.

1913: A fire at Binghamton Clothing Co., 18 Wall St., killed 31 people.

1918: Binghamton became the largest municipality in the state to outlaw liquor within its borders; and a serious influenza outbreak hit the area.

1920: Forty percent of Binghamton's residents were immigrants or first generation Americans; and Binghamton's cigar industry started to decline.

1921: Recreation Park deeded to the city by George F. and Mary A. Johnson.

1923: The New York state headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan was located in Binghamton until 1927.

1925: The first local radio programs were broadcast over portable station WKBG.

1929: Edwin A. Link invented the Link Trainer.

1932: Buses replaced street cars.

1935: The July 8 flood caused $1.6 million worth of damage in the city. The force of the Chenango River, at its confluence with the Susquehanna River, made the Susquehanna flow upstream.

1936: Another flood, on March 18, devastated the city. The following day, the city was paralyzed, with closed bridges dividing it into four disconnected parts; and Tri-Cities Airport was established by Binghamton and Endicott on Oct. 5.

1937: North High School opened.

1941: Agfa-Ansco, which later became General Aniline and Film Corp. or GAF, was seized by the government during World War II because of its ties with Germany. The year before, the company had become the second largest manufacturer of photographic supplies in America.

1947: The New York State Institute of Applied Arts and Sciences, which later became Broome Community College, began in the state armory on Washington Street with a total enrollment of 215.

1949: First local television program.

1956: The Collier Street bridge was dedicated Nov. 19; and the federal government sold GAF's Binghamton and Vestal operation to American investors.

1957: Binghamton's population reached an estimated 85,453.

1959: The Twilight Zone debuts on CBS. Created by Rod Serling (1924-1975) who came to Binghamton when he was 2 years old and graduated from Binghamton Central High School in 1943. Serling won several Emmys and other awards for his television and script writing. He died from heart disease in 1975, when he was teaching at Ithaca College.

1961: The SUNY-Binghamton campus moved to its present location in the Town of Vestal.

1962: Ground was broken for Catholic Central High School, now Seton Catholic Central High School, on the site of Old St. Mary's Home at the corner of Chestnut Street and Seminary Avenue.

1964-65: Urban renewal began in Binghamton.

1965: The Bevier Street bridge opened; and Harpur College was one of four campuses chosen to be the university centers in the 64-campus state system.

1968: Binghamton's new post office at 115 Henry St. dedicated.

1970: Two new 500-car downtown parking garages, located on Water Street and State Street, helped cure downtown parking problems.

1972: City offices moved to the $34 million Government Plaza complex on Hawley Street, and Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena opened. Chicago played the first concert at the Arena in 1973, with Bruce Springsteen as the opening act.

1980: Washington Street Mall completed; the first BC Pops on the River concert was performed; and the 1980 census showed the city's population dropped by 8,263, from 64,123 in 1970 to 55,860 in 1980.

1981: A Feb. 5 fire caused contamination of the State Office Building, leaving it uninhabitable.

1981-82: The city spent $3.2 million to rebuild the Rockbottom Dam.

1982: Binghamton High School underwent a $20 million renovation and expansion; North High School closed; and work began on Metrocenter development.

1984: Boscov's department store opened in downtown Binghamton Aug. 13; the Metrocenter opened; and Binghamton celebrated its sesquicentennial.

1985: The Evening Press and The Sun-Bulletin merged to create the The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin.

1986: Burst water pipes caused a water crisis in Binghamton Jan. 22-Feb. 1; and the Anderson Center opened.

1990: Census figures showed continual decline in the area population.

1991: IBM restructured to lower its total number of employees; plans were announced for the building of a $4.6 million baseball stadium in Binghamton; and recycling began in the city as the major focus shifted away from trash burning.

1992: The trash-burning plant concept was killed by the legislature; and the Binghamton Mets brought baseball back to the area.

1993: A blizzard hit the region in March.

1994: The State Office Building reopened after 13 years and $47 million spent in cleanup; and IBM laid off workers for the first time, contributing to rapidly rising unemployment in the area.

1995: Binghamton Police Officer Lee Barta was killed.

1996: Major flooding caused $35 million in damage in January.

1997: Operation Golden Road nabbed 81 people in a major drug bust, and the 196,000-square-foot Crain Building was destroyed in one of the most intense blazes in the city's history

1998: Tornadoes in May and June caused extensive damage; Anitec was purchased by Kodak Polychrome and then closed.

2000: Broome County and the Veterans Memorial Arena played host to the Empire State Games.

2001: Brandenberg Industrial Services demolished the Anitec water tower, eliminating the last remnant of the once-prominent employer in the city.

2002: A group of local investors brought the American Hockey League back to Binghamton after a five-year absence. The Binghamton Senators are the minor-league team of the Ottawa Senators.

Sources: City of Binghamton Historian Gerald Smith and Press & Sun-Bulletin archives.

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