About Washington County, NY

Located in the northeastern part of New York State, Washington County is nearly equidistant to New York City, Montreal and Boston. It is a scenic area bordered on the west by Lake George and the Hudson River, to the north by Essex County (site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics), to the east by the State of Vermont and to the south by New York’s Capital District.

The county is rural and agricultural in nature, with commercial and industrial development in and around the 9 villages. While over 1/3 of the county's land is agricultural, manufacturing maintains a predominant role in the economy, as does agri-manufacturing, along with tourism becoming a viable industry.

Washington County has 17 towns with Fort Edward being the county seat. Within 10 miles of Fort Edward there are approximately 75,000 residents, and within 30 miles the population swells to nearly 300,000 in parts of 6 counties and 2 states. In fact, approximately 10% of the U.S. and Canadian population lives within 300 miles of Washington County. It is a part of the Glens Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area and is approximately 50 miles from Albany, the New York State Capital.

Early Economy
Beginning in the 1700's, Washington County's economy was dependent upon its natural resources, with agricultural products, timber, lime and slate being the primary exports. The construction of saw and grist mills, kilns and foundries was stimulated first by the historic trading routes, and later by the construction of the Champlain Canal and the railroad in the 1800's.

Historic Significance
The historical significance of the county is represented well, as historic sites and districts, museums and covered bridges interpret the past. The county played a major role in 3 major conflicts (French & Indian War, Revolutionary War, War of 1812), and is proud to be the birthplace of the U.S. Navy.

Current Economic Powers
Today, Washington County is one of New York State's leading dairy counties, with maple syrup and apples being important cash crops. The economic importance of agriculture in the county is over $200 million annually, which includes numerous ancillary businesses. The county is also home to manufacturers of medical instruments, paper making machinery, paper products, furniture and electronic components. Numerous slate quarries are in the northeastern part of the county (known as the Slate Capital of the World), yielding the world's only source of red slate.

Modern transportation facilities have contributed to the economic growth of the county. Rail access to much of North America, canal access to the Atlantic coast and Great Lakes, and the interstate highway system provide for the needs of area business and industry.

Today, residents and tourists alike take advantage of numerous recreational opportunities, including downhill and cross country skiing, biking on Class I trails, boating on Lake George, Lake Champlain, the Hudson River and the Champlain Canal, fishing the Battenkill and Mettawee Rivers and Halfway Brook for trout, hiking State Forest Preserve lands, or golfing on various courses.

Additional Information
For More information about Washington County, New York, download or print the Washington County Data Book (PDF) or visit the official government website of Washington County, New York.

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