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Port Gibson

Explore the great Erie Canal via the charming small town of Port Gibson.

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Uniquely special because it is Ontario County’s unique presence on the Erie Canal, Port Gibson is a hamlet in the town of Manchester in Ontario County. It lies between Palmyra and Newark.

Historic Port Gibson on the Erie CanalDuring the earliest Euro-American settlement of the Finger Lakes area in the 1790s through the 1810s, Canandaigua became the region’s urban center, with natural geographic advantages concentrating people and capital at the head of Canandaigua Lake. In the early 1820s, however, the creation of the artificial Erie Canal waterway to the north threatened to cut Canandaigua out from regional trade, causing consternation among its most prominent merchants and citizens.

Henry B. Gibson, the wealthy cashier of Canandaigua’s Ontario Bank involved in many of the area’s speculative ventures, saw a business opportunity in Ontario County’s small Canal frontage and coordinated the purchase of the adjacent land by Canandaigua men in the mid- to late 1820s.

This became Ontario County’s Port City on the Erie Canal, Port Gibson.

During its prime, Port Gibson was the center of canal trade in regional agricultural goods and industrial developments – including at various times a malt house, a planing mill, fruit drying facilities, and merchants’ warehouses. A hotel operated at the northwest corner of the hamlet’s main intersection from the mid to nineteenth century into the early twentieth century.

Today, spending a day in Port Gibson is a visual treat. There are many farms, most set far back from the road, making for some great scenery. Route 31 runs right along the Erie Canal and offers small boat access, while a single-lane bridge over the canal connects Port Gibson and East Palmyra (East Palmyra Port Gibson Road). Homes are nestled along the banks of the canal.

The Port Gibson United Methodist Church, built in 1871, is situated on Greig Street. The church is listed on both the state and national register of historic places and is the only church in Port Gibson. It features many community events.

Fast Facts

History
Port Gibson’s during its prime was the center of canal trade in regional agricultural goods and industrial developments. Today, it’s Ontario County’s only presence on the Erie Canal.

Population
327 (2017 data)

Size
The formal boundaries for the Port Gibson Census Designated Place encompass a land area of 1.17 sq. miles and a water area of 0.03 sq. miles.

Location
Latitude: 43.03 N, Longitude: 77.16 W

Terrain
Elevation: 470 feet

Education

Students in Port Gibson report to the Newark Central School District.

Key Landmarks and Attractions

Port Gibson United Methodist Church, built in 1871, is situated on Greig Street. The church is listed on both the state and national register of historic places and is the only church in Port Gibson.

Key Events

Community Bingo Night at the Port Gibson Volunteer Fire Department is a long-standing pastime in Port Gibson.

Community Resources

The Port Gibson Volunteer Fire Department is host of monthly community events along with The Port Gibson Fireman's field which is available for larger events.