Plattsburgh (city), New York

Plattsburgh (city), New York

Infobox Settlement
official_name = City of Plattsburgh
settlement_type = City
nickname = "The Lake City" "(La Ville sur le Lac)"
motto = "Ipsa Sibi Præmium Virtus"
(“Virtue is its own reward.”)

imagesize = 262px
image_caption = Federal Building in downtown Plattsburgh.


mapsize =
map_caption = Map of City of Plattsburgh

mapsize1 =
map_caption1 =

pushpin_label_position =
pushpin_map_caption =Location within the state of New York
pushpin_mapsize =
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_name = United States
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_name1 = New York
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Clinton
government_type =
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name = Donald Kasprzak
established_title = Settled
established_date = 1785
established_title1 = Incorporated (village)
established_date1 = 1815
established_title2 = Incorporated (city)
established_date2 = 1902
named_for = Zephaniah Platt

area_magnitude =
area_total_km2 = 17
area_total_sq_mi = 6.6
area_land_km2 = 13.1
area_land_sq_mi = 5.1
area_water_km2 = 4.0
area_water_sq_mi = 1.5
area_water_percent = 23.4
area_urban_km2 =
area_urban_sq_mi =
area_metro_km2 =
area_metro_sq_mi =
population_as_of = 2000
population_note =
population_total = 18816
population_density_km2 = 1439.5
population_density_sq_mi = 1587.1
population_metro =
population_density_metro_km2 =
population_density_metro_sq_mi =
population_urban =
timezone = Eastern
utc_offset = -5
timezone_DST = Eastern Daylight Time
utc_offset_DST = -4
latd = 44 |latm = 41 |lats = 43 |latNS = N
longd = 73 |longm = 27 |longs = 30 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 42
elevation_ft = 138
website = []
postal_code_type = ZIP codes
postal_code = 12901, 12903
area_code = 518
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 36-58574
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0960698
footnotes =

Plattsburgh is a city in Clinton County, New York, United States. The population was 18,816 at the 2000 census.

The City of Plattsburgh is located entirely within the original boundaries of the Town of Plattsburgh and is in the North Country region of the northeastern part of the state.

Micropolitan Statistical Area

The City of Plattsburgh is the population center and county seat at the heart of the Plattsburgh Micropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) - estimated population 82,215 as of July 2007 ["Annual Estimates of the Population of Micropolitan Statistical Areas", Retrieved 10/11/08 from] . A statistical area representing the greater Plattsburgh region(as defined by the U.S. government), the Plattsburgh MSA includes all communities in the immediate Clinton County, New York area.


Plattsburgh was founded by Zephaniah Platt in 1785 after he was granted the land by George Clinton ["Zephaniah Platt". Zephaniah Platt. Retrieved on March 2, 2005.] . As early as Samuel de Champlain's 1609 expedition into the Lake Champlain valley [Perkins, G.H. (1879). Archaeology of the Champlain Valley. "American Naturalist", V.13, No. 12.] , this region began to fall under the influence of the French - and later under American and English colonial power. Early French contact and the proximity of Plattsburgh to Quebec, make this an historically French region. Situated within and intimately intertwined with the extended fur trade network positioned in the Montreal hinterland (and beyond), this area fell within the lands of the coureur des bois affiliated with the larger trading hub in Montreal. While Plattsburgh is cited by American historians as being a relatively new city, the area became occupied somewhere after the arrival of Samuel de Champlain in 1609 and the beginning of the Fur Trade in Montreal in the mid to late 17th century. While permanent French settlement was hampered by the looming threat of armed conflict with Iroquois natives of the region, French missionaries did begin to settle alongside local indigenous populations where Native villages were found, as early as 1609. [Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Available ""] . Moreover, the area near Plattsburgh is notable for being the sight of an indigenous village. [Perkins, G.H. (1879). Archaeology of the Champlain Valley. "American Naturalist", V.13, No. 12.] By a large stretch of the imagination, the area now known as Plattsburgh may predate (or at least be comparable in age to) some of the oldest American settlements in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Hampton, Virginia and Albany, New York. One key distinction to make is that of the nature of these settlements, however. Whereby the former were distinguished by formal organization, city incorporation, and a relatively urban landscape within the 17th century; any informal trading outpost or missionary settlement near present day Plattsburgh would have been a remote and impermanent offshoot from the larger French monoculture.

In granting land to Zephaniah Platt of Poughkeepsie, New York - who went on to establish the new city of Plattsburgh to buffer emerging American interests in the Saint Lawrence River valley and Lake Champlain valley after the American victory in the American Revolutionary War - the centralized American authority proclaimed the area including and surrounding the old French trading areas and Iroquois settlement to be refounded as the settlement of Plattsburgh in 1785. Regardless, local residents exercised their unique French culture and history over the years in ways that are still visible today. In Plattsburgh, for example, there is no "Main Street" - a common vestige of English colonies, whereas in a unique tradition major streets and thoroughfares were named after the daughters of prominent businessman and politicians (e.g., Cathérine, Marguerite - present day Margaret Street and Plattsburgh's "Main Street", Cornélie - present day Cornelia Street). In a similar fashion, local residents named local streets after renowned Frenchmen including Samuel de Champlain, the original founder of the region, and General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm - the French general who gained fame defeating incredible numerical odds in multiple battles throughout both the Oswego and Hudson River Valley areas before going on to organize the last French defense of Québec at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The oldest monument within the city limits, in fact, is dedicated to Samuel de Champlain.

The community set itself off from the Town of Plattsburgh by incorporating as a village in 1815. The city government was established in the former village in 1902.

With its significant location on a major water thoroughfare and close to the U.S.-Canadian border, Plattsburgh has been the site of a number of historic events including the Revolutionary War's Battle of Valcour Island and the War of 1812's Battle of Plattsburgh; the city has a War of 1812 museum.

Plattsburgh Normal School was founded in 1889. It burned in 1929, and was rebuilt in 1932. In 1948 it became State University of New York at Plattsburgh.

During the Cold War, military functions took a prominent role in Plattsburgh, which was home to Plattsburgh Air Force Base (PAFB) and was the location of the Strategic Air Command's primary wing on the U.S. East Coast due to its geographic desirability. The base's location in the Champlain Valley (protected by the Adirondack Mountains) ensured consistent, year-round weather that was safe for take-offs and landings. The 380th Bombardment, Aerospace, and Refueling Wings, all stationed at PAFB, included B-52 Bombers, air-refueling "tankers" and FB-111s. The base had a great deal of land surface and was one of only four military bases in the United States with a landing strip large enough for a Space Shuttle landing.

Despite its numerous awards for performance excellence, PAFB was closed on September 29, 1995 in a round of national base closures in the early 1990s as the Air Force began to pare down its post-Cold War missions. The base property is now managed by the Plattsburgh Airbase Redevelopment Corporation (PARC) and is used by a number of industrial manufacturers and commercial airlines.

Throughout much of the 1980s, when the Canadian dollar was strong relative to the U.S. dollar, Plattsburgh was a favorite tourist location for vacationers from Montreal and southern Quebec. Bilingual signs, in English and French, are found in parts of the city. The city beaches and camp grounds were regularly crowded and Plattsburgh attracted enough retail stores and outlets to build a second large indoor shopping mall, Champlain Centre North, in addition to several outdoor shopping centers. The additional retail space of the Champlain Centre North along with the new Consumer Square (Walmart, Staples, TJ Maxx...) made the Pyramid Mall irrelevant; it was largely demolished (with exception of Kmart and the restored old Price Chopper building) and converted into a power centre with a convert|115000|sqft|m2|-2|abbr=on Lowes Home Center and a new Price Chopper as the anchor stores. However, with the closing of PAFB and the strengthening U.S. dollar in the 1990s, Canadian tourism declined, although it has rebounded with the falling dollar of 2007. Today, the city relies largely in part on new industries expanding on the former airbase as well as established manufacturing plants, one being Bombardier and the other the Georgia-Pacific paper plant. The GP plant is housed in the former LOZIER Auto factory built at the turn of the century on the former (lakefront) Anderson Farm.

Notable residents

Plattsburgh has been tied to a number of famous and infamous people. John Henry Hopkins, Jr., a former rector of Plattsburgh's Trinity Episcopal church was the author of the well-known Christmas carol "We Three Kings". Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young who played Frankie Valli in the original Broadway cast of Jersey Boys, is a Plattsburgh native. Angelica Costello, also known as "Venus," a star of pornographic films, was a Plattsburgh resident. Recent former residents of Plattsburgh include Doug Raaberg, holder of a world circumnavigation record in the B-1B and Michael P. Anderson, one of the seven astronauts who died in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Eric Harris, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, lived on the Plattsburgh Air Force base when it was active. Ramón Castro Ruz, older brother of Cuban presidents, Fidel and Raúl Castro, attended the Catholic boarding school Mount Assumption Institute. Actress Jean Arthur was born here and lived in Plattsburgh from 1900 to 1908. The Philadelphia Flyers hockey player Jesse Boulerice is also a native of Plattsburgh. The City of Plattsburgh was the first city in the state to elect an openly gay mayor when they elected Daniel Stewart (R) in November of 1999.

Recent events

On November 22, 1975 Peter Frampton recorded the live song Do You Feel Like We Do for the album Frampton Comes Alive at the Plattsburgh State field house.

In August 1996, the rock band Phish, which was based across Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, held the first of its seven weekend-long festivals at the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base. The festival, called The Clifford Ball, attracted 65,000 fans from all over the country and featured seven sets of music by the band. Fans camped out onsite in tents and RV's, creating community of fans that became the ninth largest city in New York over the weekend.

On April 20, 2002, there was an earthquake a few miles southwest of Plattsburgh in Clintonville. It measured 5.1 on the Richter Scale, and was felt as far south as Pennsylvania and as far north as Maine.

On January 2, 2006, the Latin inscription on the city seal, garbled 60 years earlier, was corrected. The seal now correctly says "Ipsa Sibi Præmium Virtus" which is “Virtue is its own reward.” The seal and phrase were originally chosen by the City's Common Council, from a contest held in the 1920s. The mistake was corrected by Dr. Ann Tracy, a Latin scholar at SUNY Plattsburgh, and Plattsburgh City Clerk Keith Herkalo, after a new city police officer asked what the phrase meant.

Spelling of "Plattsburgh"

Plattsburgh is sometimes mistakenly spelled as Plattsburg, leaving off the "h". Adding to the confusion are many historic documents relating to the famous naval engagement between the United States and Britain in 1814 which refer to the "Battle of Plattsburg".

Compounding the confusion, in 1950 the editor of the New York State Legislative Manual, seeking to simplify the organization of that year's manual, requested a listing of state post offices from the U.S. Postal Service. Upon review of the listing, the difference in spelling was noted. The City was contacted and an investigation begun by postal authorities.

U.S. Postal Service records show that the name of the post office was changed to "Plattsburg", without the "h", in 1894. During the period 1892-1894, the federal Post Office Department was growing at a rapid pace. The Postmaster General issued an order establishing guidelines for post office names for new post offices. The order was misunderstood by local postal officials who caused the name of the village post to be changed to "Plattsburg", without the "h". As a result of the 1951 investigation, the name of the city post office was changed back to "Plattsburgh", with the "h". At no time was the name of the City ever changed.

To this day, some signs [including US and Canadian highway signs and a sign at the Plattsburgh (Amtrak station), among others] erroneously point the way to "Plattsburg".


Plattsburgh is located at coor dms|44|41|43|N|73|27|30|W|city (44.695365, -73.458593)GR|1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.6 square miles (17.0 km²), of which, 5.1 square miles (13.1 km²) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (4.0 km²) of it (23.40%) is water.

Plattsburgh is located on the western shore of Lake Champlain in the northeastern part of the state of New York, just south of Cumberland Head.

The Saranac River flows through the city into Lake Champlain.

The Northway, Interstate 87 is a north-south major highway west of the city. US 9 and NY 22 are additional highways traversing the city from north to south. NY 3, NY 190, and NY 374 approach the city from the west.


As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 18,816 people, 7,600 households, and 3,473 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,728.2 people per square mile (1,438.6/km²). There were 8,010 housing units at an average density of 1,587.1/sq mi (612.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.41% White, 2.46% Black or African American, 0.52% Native American, 1.49% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.68% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.12% of the population.

There were 7,600 households out of which 22.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.1% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.3% were non-families. 40.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.83.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.5% under the age of 18, 27.7% from 18 to 24, 23.5% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 86.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,846, and the median income for a family was $46,337. Males had a median income of $35,429 versus $26,824 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,127. About 13.6% of families and 23.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.0% of those under age 18 and 13.0% of those age 65 or over.


Plattsburgh is traversed by Interstate 87, which connects Montreal with Albany and points south.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Plattsburgh, operating its Adirondack daily in both directions between Montreal and New York City.

The city is served by Plattsburgh International Airport. The airport terminal was completed on the former Air Force Base in February 2007 with the building being dedicated on April 27, 2007. It opened in July 2007. Plattsburgh International currently has 4 FedEx Feeder flights, 2 UPS feeder flights (AirNow) and 5 CapeAir flights a day with service to Boston MA.

The closest major American city (as the crow flies) to Plattsburgh is Burlington, VT, which is accessible by ferry. The city is also in close proximity to Montreal (and the U.S./Canadian border), leading to its prominence as a large trade center for a city its size.

Plattsburgh lies 18 miles south of the border with Quebec, and 63 miles south of the city of Montreal.

Law and government

Donald Kasprzak (R,C) is the current mayor of the city. He took office on January 1, 2007. Kasprzak was elected November 7, 2006 with 51% of the vote over his opponents, Kevin Duniho(D) and Mike Drew(R,I).

Donald Kasprzak - Mayor

Tim Carpenter - Ward I

Michael Kelly - Ward 2

George Rabideau - Ward 3

Jim Calnon - Ward 4 (Mayor Pro-tem)

Amy Valentine - Ward 5

Chris Jackson - Ward 6


External links

* [ Official website for the City of Plattsburgh]
* [ Plattsburgh Press-Republican (daily newspaper)]
* [ SUNY Plattsburgh (State University College)]
* [ Plattsburgh City School District]
* [ Plattsburgh Fire Fighters (local Fire Department)]
* [ Community Website (Community Website)]
* [ Community Website (Community Website)]

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