Waterloo, New York

Famous for many years as the birthplace of memorial day, the small village of Waterloo, New York, is rich with American and Native American history and landmarks. 

History Of Waterloo

Waterloo, New York. Image credit: Magicpiano via Wikimedia Commons.

Predating its naming by the new settlers, this village was once a thriving community of well-known native tribes. Two of the more famous tribes were the Cayuga and the Seneca. They resided in this area back in the 1500s when they decided to call it "Skoiyase" (or Ski-Yase), a word that means flowing water. It is an appropriate title for this area rich with water canals, surrounded by water, and includes several lakes. For example, the Seneca River/Cayuga-Seneca Canal passes through the village. It links the area to another canal system called the Erie Canal system. The two famous lakes in the area are Cayuga Lake and Seneca Lake. So "Flowing Water" is a well-deserved and well-thought title. 

In the 17th century, Jesuit missionaries started visiting this land for exploration purposes. Like all native Indian communities in the 17th and 18th centuries, clashes began between the locals and expeditions from American and European expeditions. This clash resulted in new colonies that were aided in their building process by the native Indian tribes. One of the first settlers in this area was Jabez Gorham, originally born in Fairfield, Connecticut, then moved to this area in 1795. A man named Samuel Bear reached this area in 1792. Both were looking for a place to settle and saw the possibilities of the water flowing from the river to build mills that would aid in the settling of others. They cleared land for a new settlement that started attracting people from neighboring areas.

Flash forward about 30 years, the village was officially incorporated within the American country in 1824, thus beginning an official American history for the town and for the residents that thrived as an industrial community for years to come. One of the most prominent historical events that the locals are proud of is the planning for the women's human rights movement, particularly a convention later named the Women's Rights Convention. This is quite an event for the current locals to be proud of for a small town. The second incorporation of the village is even more resounding. This coincided with the celebration of memorial day in 1866. It took 100 years for the village to be designated as the birthplace of memorial day by the 36th president of the US. This event was contested years later by scholars who argued that this village was not the actual birthplace of Memorial Day. Even though this event was contested, the locals still proudly believe that this area was once the hometown of a momentous and beautiful occasion that celebrates veterans and soldiers who gave their lives to defend their country. 

Waterloo Today

Today Waterloo is a village of a small community of patriotic Americans who preserved their culture and history within the walls of their buildings. The total population of Waterloo is 5170 people, according to the 2010 American census. The village has an area of 2.2 square miles with only 3.4% of its water. It consists of 2164 housing units. So it is safe to say that it is small. However, small as it is, a couple of celebrities were born and raised in Waterloo. For example, Tom Coughlin, the two-time NFL Super Bowl Champion and New York Giants' coach, and Mike McLaughlin, a former NASCAR driver. 

Attractions In Waterloo

Waterloo is famous for its fascinating American architecture. Many buildings ooze history and culture and take one back to the early years of the founding fathers. There is the James Russel Webster house that was first constructed in 1850. There are many other landmarks like the M'Clintock House, which was once the birthplace of the Women's Rights Convention, and the US Post Office, which was established in 1924. Several churches also date back to the 1800s, like the First Presbyterian Church, Saint Paul's Church, and the United Methodist Church. It is marvelous that these villages maintained buildings and landmarks that hold cultural and historical significance. 

If one ever wants to escape the bustling sounds of the city, have the urge to go back in time, revisit US history in the 1800s and the 1900s and recall a simpler time when communities were smaller, Waterloo is the place to visit.