Carthage: A Community of Choice

The Carthage Area has always been characterized by a strong community identity and a pleasant small town atmosphere. It is a place of hometown celebrations, adventure, tradition, and community service; a place where people are never too busy to share a smile, a handshake, or a bit of local lore. We take pride in our quality of life, our kind residents, and our safe streets.

Carthage NY
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All of these attributes combine to create a place where you can raise a family, establish life-long relationships, afford a pleasant lifestyle, and if you choose, to operate your own business. Nestled between the 1000 Islands, the St. Lawrence River, and the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, the Carthage area offers a pure and serene rural setting with all the necessities and conveniences of modern life, accentuated by the positive growth of the Fort Drum, U.S. Army Post.

Our History

Dating back to the 18th Century, the history of the Carthage area is alive and embraced. Jean Baptiste Bossuot was the sole inhabitant of the area in the late 1790's, when he ran a ferry and an inn. The Town of Champion became home to the first family in Jefferson County when the Mix family settled here in 1799. Pioneers came to the area in the early 1800's, and the first bridge over the Black River was constructed in 1804 at Great Bend. The Village of Carthage was incorporated in 1841, and the Village of West Carthage followed in 1889.

The Twin Villages grew around the industry of the Black River. Just downstream from the villages, the river descends in a long series of rapids, providing waterpower for the industries that sprang up along its banks: saw mills, grist mills, and the nail works at first, followed by iron foundries, tanneries, and paper mills. Other early industries included leaching tubs and pearl ask ovens. During the canal era, Carthage was the terminus of the Black River, serving as a vital link between the Erie Canal and the St. Lawrence River.

Two devastating fires have changed the landscape of the Twin Villages. On October 20, 1884, a fire began in shavings in a mill on the western bank of the Black River. Blown across the river by the winds, it quickly burned over 70 acres and hundreds of homes and businesses. On March 2, 2002, a second major fire occurred. Nine buildings were lost to an early morning blaze in downtown Carthage. Although encompassing less than an acre, a significant part of the historic downtown area was destroyed.

Recreation and Tourism

The Black River is the 3rd largest river in New York State!The Carthage area centers on the Black River, which runs between the village of Carthage and West Carthage. The third largest river in the state, it blends unmatched scenic beauty with a rich history of economic development. The section of the river flowing through the Twin Villages is part of the state-designated Black River Bluway Trail system.

From picnicking, to canoeing and kayaking, to fishing, the Black River offers fulfilling recreation and serene parks within the village limits. Our community is proud of this asset and continually looks to expand its use and enjoyment, while preserving its value.

The Greater Carthage Area recreation, however, is not limited to the Black River, nor is our strong connection to the outdoors limited to any open season. Our residents take advantage of all that the great outdoors has to offer.

State and County recreational lands allows access to the beauty of nature, including nearby Lake Bonaparte and Pleasant Lake. Our area is surrounded by well-known recreational destinations: The Adirondack Mountains, the Tug Hill Plateau, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the Thousand Islands.

The Tug Hill Plateau is one of the top 10 North American destinations for snowmobiling!Our extensive system of groomed snowmobile and all-terrain-vehicle trails, maintained by local clubs, links directly to a corridor system from the Tug Hill Plateau, ranked in the top ten North American snowmobiling destinations, to the Adirondacks. Our area also provides access to interstate and international trail systems.

Families and residents of all ages value the ample opportunities for hiking, big and small game hunting, bird watching, downhill and cross-country skiing, ice skating, snow-shoeing, dog-sled racing, camping, biking, golfing, boating, and many other river and water activities. Supervised recreational programs and facilities in both villages, along with the Carthage YMCA, provide a safe source of fun and fitness programs for our area youth.

Industry and Business Growth

The Carthage location is a location suited for success with a constant flow of vehicular traffic, resulting in a steady stream of commerce and new business construction. At the heart of the area are the many small businesses providing the products and services that residents and visitors require. A variety of sounds businesses and manufacturing plants provide products distributed world-wide...supplemented by a modern infrastructure, fiber optic lines, and convenient transportation methods.

More information can be obtained through John McHugh, Community Development Coordinator, at 315-493-4429.Businesses in the Carthage area have access to assistance and funding programs though:
  • Economic Development Corporation of Carthage (EDCC)
  • Carthage Industrial Development Corporation (CIDC)
  • Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency (JCIDA)
  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

These organizations can help small businesses grow, building and retaining jobs, economic benefit and community revitalization though low-interest loans which can be utilized for fixed assets, equipment, inventory, work capital and real property.