Ogdensburg

Ogdensburg is a city of 10,700 people (2016) in Northern New York on the St. Lawrence Seaway opposite Prescott, Ontario.

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Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad

Due to its strategic position on the St. Lawrence River, Prescott-Ogdensburg had a long native history before the first European presence. The initial colonial settlement was a fortress and 1749 French Catholic mission; the French fur trade in that era followed the river westward to reach the Great Lakes. During the Seven Years War (1750s), warriors from this fort attacked British colonists on behalf of the French. After the 1760 Battle of the Thousand Islands, the territory became British; in 1796, Jay’s Treaty placed Fort Oswegatchie on the US side of the border. US settlers largely displaced the Oswegatchie natives and named the village Ogdensburgh after Samuel Ogden, an early landowner.

During the War of 1812, the city was captured by British forces; local merchants conducted extensive trade with Canada. Before the St. Lawrence Seaway (1958), Great Lakes vessels would unload grains in Prescott-Ogdensburg for transport eastward by rail. Early railways included the Ogdensburg & Lake Champlain Railroad (later Rutland Railroad) (1849), Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad (1853) and a Portland & Ogdensburg Railway (never completed).

International ferry crossings joined Prescott-Ogdensburg and Morristown-Brockville until the Prescott-Ogdensburg international bridge opened in 1960; from there, separate railways once joined Prescott-Ottawa and Brockville-Ottawa.

  • NY 37 runs from US 11 in Watertown through Morristown and Ogdensburg, then follows the river to MassenaMalone
  • NY 812 takes a dog-legged journey from the Prescott-Ogdensburg bridge to Utica
  • Ontario 416 runs 45 miles (75km) north from the Prescott-Ogdensburg bridge to suburban Ottawa
  • Ontario 401 runs from Windsor-Détroit through Toronto to Montréal; the Prescott-Ogdensburg bridge is exit 721 southbound.

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