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Binghamton History, New York

Turning back the pages of history, we find that Binghamton and its surrounding areas were inhabited by the Native Americans until the days of the America's Revolutionary War. 1779 saw the arrival of General John Sullivan’s troops in the region (in fact, the troops of soldiers under General James Clinton had encamped at the present city-site) and the ousting of the Native American population by the troops unfolded a new chapter in the history of the region.

History of Binghamton – The Early Period

The proper history of Binghamton in New York begins in the year 1786, when the wealthy Philadelphia banker, William Bingham, invested in land and acquired about 10,000 acres through his agent Joshua Whitney. Although Bingham did not visit his lands in his lifetime (dying in 1804), Whitney worked hard for the development of the region. His hard work bore its fruits and the region saw a permanent settlement in 1802. All along, the area was known as ‘Chenango Point’; however, when it was incorporated as a village in 1834, it was named Binghamton to honor William Bingham.

History of Binghamton – The Post Civil War Period

The period following the American Civil War (1861-1865) proved very important in the history of Binghamton. Actually, a number of assembly-line industrial units were set up during the Civil War days in order to meet the needs of weaponry and other war-related items. These manufacturing plants created scope for ‘jobs’.

Binghamton was recognized as a city in 1867 and by the 1870s, the positive effects of the Industrial Revolution became more evident – many more industries and manufacturing units came up in addition to the existing ones.

Binghamton was termed the ‘Valley of Opportunity’ and people from other US states and even from different European nations moved to Binghamton seeking employment in these industries.

The cigar-making industry employed about 5000 people in the 1890s. The Lester Brothers Boot and Shoe Company, which started in 1854, had become the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Corporation by the 1890s. Around the same time (1889) the Bundy Time Recorder Co. was founded; later on, the company tied up with other small companies to become what is today known as IBM or International Business Machines.

Binghamton was making fast progress because of the presence of the defense-based businesses and even the dark days of the Great Depression could not halt its progress. A good example of this uninterrupted growth was the invention of the flight simulator (pilot trainer) by Edwin A. Link of Binghamton in 1928.

The population kept growing all the time and in the 1950s, the population reached 85000.

History of Binghamton – The Post Cold War Period

The history of Binghamton took another turn in the post cold war period. With no takers for its defense-related products, the city faced an economic slowdown and the population started declining. Attempts at boosting the city’s economy by diversifying its businesses have been successful and today, the total population of the city is around 50000.

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