The following article appeared in "National Magazine" in June 1907. The images are also from this article. The only addition to this article is the note provided describing the buildings in the panoramic view.


Water Works at Ilion, N. Y., Showing Filter Beds.

Ilion, New York
By the Board of Trade

In the midst of that necklace of thriving towns and cities strung along the line of the Erie Canal from Albany to Buffalo, midway between the cities of Utica and Little Falls, is the village bearing the classical title of Ilion.

Although small in size and unassuming in its tendencies, this village has created a recognition for itself far beyond the average village of its class.

In general, it is not unlike the average town of its size in Central New York. Its population is upwards of 7000. It is situated on the Mohawk River at a point where the river is joined by a tributary known as Steele's Creek. The village extends along the river flats, up the line of this creek and covers the steep hills to the East and West, which form the confines of the stream.

It has the advantages of transportation in common with the other Mohawk Valle towns, the Erie Canal, the New York Central Railroad, the West Shore Railroad and the Utica & Mohawk Valley Trolley System.

The Utica and Mohawk Valley Railway provides a very desirable way to reach Ilion. Coming to Utica, one can take as luxurious interurban cars as can be found in the State, and after a thirty-five minute ride, along the Mohawk river, will reach Ilion, the home of the Remington typewriter. The railway runs a main line from Rome, New York, to Little Falls, new York, with tributary lines reaching smaller towns. No trip to this section is complete without a ride to Ilion in these electric palace cars.

Its development and growth have been more sudden than that of the neighboring villages. Not even was its charter obtained till the Mohawk Valley had been settled a century.

The origin of its name may be interesting. At first it was known as London. Later, when the Erie Canal had been constructed, it was called Morgan's Landing, and then again, Steele's Creek. After Eliphalet Remington purchased some land within the present limits of the village, it began to be called Remington's Corners and the name of Remington has been associated with it ever since. Due to the request of Mr. Remington and to the fact that the name was so similar to that of many other places and produce confusion in the mails; at the suggestion of a Mr. Devoe, a man of classical tendencies; it finally assumed the name so prominent in the literature of ancient Greece and Rome. It became Ilion.

But the Ilion of the present will most interest the reader. Her people are public spirited and are justly proud of the advancement they have made in village improvement.

Plant of the Remington Arms Company at Ilion.

The water system is unusual and by far the exception. The soil being sandy and gravelly, the water percolating from the higher to the lower sections of the town made unsanitary conditions. The people have installed a system that, up to date, has cost them over $216,000. By this system, the water is taken from a stream some miles away; turned into two great reservoirs; filtered through the filter beds by what is known as the "slow sand" process by which every drop of water used has passed through four feet of sand and course gravel; distributed through 13 miles of cast iron piping and brought to the homes at the lowest possible expense to the consumer. The capacity of the system is 1,200,000 gallons per day. The maximum demand at present is 900,000 gallons per day. All the municipal departments, schools, sewer system and hydrant service are supplied without cost. Regardless of this fact, the revenue from the system is such that the interest is paid and the bonded indebtedness annually decreased without resorting to direct taxation. The water at 115 lbs. pressure to the square inch is piped to 113 fire hydrants throughout the place. Thus the citizens of Ilion are rendered secure from the encroachments of disease and calamity from fire by the efficiency of their water supply. In connection with the water supply, a very complete "Sanitary" sewer system, automatically flushed each day has been installed.

A. M. Russel & Sons Company, Ilion, New York

The church societies are as follows: Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Roman Catholic, Episcopalian and Free Methodist. Each denomination has its own church edifice and the church work is well sustained by loyal and generous congregations.

Plant of the Clark & Baker Company at Ilion

The schools are well cared for. They receive the support of the community and, as a result, they stand high. The school registration is nearly 1200 pupils, accommodated in three modern school buildings. Over 200 of these pupils are registered in the high school. But very few of the high school students are non-residents. The majority of the graduates pursue the higher work in the colleges, normal and technical schools.

The town has a modern library buildings erected in 1892 at a cost of over $30,000. This building was the gift of Mr. Clarence W. Seamans. It is Romanesque in style, built of rock-faced pressed brick trimmed with red Lake Superior sandstone, elaborately carved. The interior is finished with quartered oak panel work. It contains 15,000 volumes.

In addition, Ilion is soon to have a hospital within its own limits. $10,000 has already been donated for the purpose. The site has been selected and the plans well under way.

An article of this nature would not be complete without making mention of two or three organizations, the existence of which proves the public-spirited nature of the citizens.

The Board of Trade is an organization of the business men of the village for the purpose of promoting the business interests of the town. They hold regular meetings at which all questions concerning the welfare of the community are discussed. Through its efforts $3,000 and a half a car of goods were sent to the San Francisco sufferers.

Main Street, Ilion, Looking West

The Cemetery Association has as its object to care for and beautify the cemetery of the village. Through the generosity of friends of this organization a $10,000 chapel has lately been erected at the entrance of the grounds.

There is a Building and Loan Association which offers an opportunity not only for saving and sound investment, but also furnishes, on easy terms, the means for those who desire help in building and owning their own homes.

The village has a national bank, two weekly newspapers, five hotels, a well equipped fire department and an efficient mail delivery. It is also the distributing point for several rural delivery routes.

Ilion Public Library Corner of West and Second Streets.
Library to the Right of the Center of the Picture.
(Click on Image for a Larger Version)
Note from Paul: The house on the far left of the photo is the Applegate Funeral Home. The house next to that belonged to George Russell, brother of Samuel Russell, (founder of Russell Park). It was owned by L. T. Smoot at one time and sold to David Lewis in 1882. Lewis in turn sold it to Russell in 1902. It was torn down in 1904 and rebuilt in the same location. The house on the corner was owned by Andrew D. Morgan. He was a former postmaster and mayor of Ilion. Most recently it was owned by the Stubley family and made into apartments. Across Second Street is the Freeman Public Library and, to its right is the Knights of Columbus Hall. The photo was taken looking up Second Street toward West Hill. Courtesy of Carolyn Deming Boyer

Ilion is essentially a manufacturing town, and the history of its growth is the history of the growth of the great manufacturing plants that have made it famous. The story of the gun, from the first hand-forged gun-barrels made by the senior Remington, to the modern auto-loading shotgun and rifle of the Remington Arms Company, is too long a story for a magazine article of this character; so is the story of the development of the typewriter, from the first crude idea of a machine on which to write a letter, to the perfected modern Remington. It is sufficient to say that Ilion has grown as its industries have grown, from a little hamlet on the Erie Canal to a thriving village of seven thousand people and the center of an immediate district with a population of twenty-five thousand inhabitants.

Richardson Memorial Chapel at Ilion

The principle manufacturing industries are the Remington Arms Company, making the celebrated Remington gun -- sporting and military; Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict, produces the Remington Typewriter; Clarke & Baker Company, manufacturers of filing devices, office and library furnishings; the Sterling Mills, makers of sweaters; A. N. Russell & Sons Company, manufacturers of store fittings and fixtures, and the F. Coleman Carriage & Harness Company, builders of high grade carriages.

The Remington Typewriter plant has the distinction of being the largest of its kind in the world. The Remington Arms plant is the foremost in the manufacture of military arms in this country and is the second largest producer of high grade shotguns and rifles for sporting purposes. The Clarke & Baker factory, while it is yet a comparatively new industry, has furnished among many other libraries the fittings for one-half the Carnegie libraries of New York and Brooklyn, and the Mercantile Library and the public libraries of Utica and Syracuse. These industries employ over 3000 skilled laborers.

Remington Typewriter Company's Plant at Ilion

In closing, we make these special claims for Ilion; For its size, it has the greatest number of skilled laborers, the largest circulation of daily papers, and the largest number of people owning their own homes. The feature which is most noticeable as well as most important, is the high class of operatives required by the accuracy of the work in all Ilion manufactures. This has resulted in developing a village of mechanics of exceptional ability, whose average pay is probably in excess of any other industrial center in the world, and whose standard of living is one unknown in most factory towns.

Back to Ilion History Page

Back to Herkimer/Montgomery Counties NYGenWeb

Back to New York State GenWeb

Created 7/26/04
Copyright © 2004 Paul McLaughlin / Lisa Slaski
All Rights Reserved.