Palmyra (town), New York

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For the village of the same name, see Palmyra (village), New York.
Palmyra, New York
The East Main Street Commercial Historic District
The East Main Street Commercial Historic District
Palmyra, New York is located in New York
Palmyra, New York
Palmyra, New York
Location within the state of New York
Coordinates: 43°03′49″N 77°14′00″W / 43.06361°N 77.23333°W / 43.06361; -77.23333Coordinates: 43°03′49″N 77°14′00″W / 43.06361°N 77.23333°W / 43.06361; -77.23333
Country United States
State New York
County Wayne
Created 1789
 • Total 33.7 sq mi (87.3 km2)
 • Land 33.5 sq mi (86.7 km2)
 • Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 480 ft (146 m)
Population (2000)
 • Total 7,762
 • Density 230.3/sq mi (88.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 14522
Area code(s) 315
FIPS code 36-56231
GNIS feature ID 0970448

Palmyra is a town in Wayne County, New York, USA. The population was 7,672 at the 2000 census. The town is named after the ancient city Palmyra in Syria.

The Town of Palmyra is on the south border of the county. The town contains a village also named Palmyra. The town is about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Rochester, New York.


The prehistoric Adena Culture left mounds in the area.

Palmyra was part of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase.

The Town of Palmyra, originally called "Swift's Landing" after its founder John Swift and "District of Tolland," was created in 1789.[1] The sole local encounter between natives and white settlers that resulted in deaths occurred that same year. The present name was adopted in 1796, reportedly to impress a new school teacher. There were almost one thousand people in the town in 1800.

The Erie Canal was completed up to Palmyra in 1822, although the canal was not completed to its western terminus until 1825.

In 1823, the Town of Macedon was formed from part of Palmyra's territory as part of the creation of Wayne County from Ontario County.

Birth of Latter Day Saint movement[edit]

Smith log cabin

Palmyra is the birthplace of the Latter Day Saint movement and Mormonism. Founder Joseph Smith, Jr., whose family lived on a farm that straddled the line between Palmyra and Manchester, said he had been visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ in 1820, an event known as the First Vision. In 1830 the Book of Mormon was first published in the village of Palmyra by E.B. Grandin, in the present Book of Mormon Historic Publication Site. Beginning in the early 20th century, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began buying and restoring many of the properties in the area associated with early church history. In 1997 the Smiths' log cabin was rebuilt on its original site and in 2000 the church built the Palmyra New York Temple on a portion of the former Smith farm.[2]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.7 square miles (87.3 km²), of which, 33.5 square miles (86.7 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (0.62%) is water.

The Erie Canal passes across the county, through the Village of Palmyra. The multi-use, recreational Erie Canal Heritage Trail continues along the towpath of the Erie Canal as well.

The south town line is the border of Ontario County.

New York State Route 21 (north-south) intersects New York State Route 31 (east-west) in Palmyra village.


The Palmyra-Macedon High School, Palmyra-Macedon Middle School and Palmyra-Macedon Primary School are all located within Palmyra.

The Palmyra Community Library is a Board of Regents chartered library[3] that serves the public with a collection of books, magazines, videos, audiobooks, video games, and local references that may be borrowed or viewed. The library also hosts a variety of community events year round. Free wireless internet and computer access are available on site.[4]

In 2011, the library moved to its current location in the renovated Garlock Packing Company Building. The move was prompted by a need to expand on site resources, increase seating, and add community gathering spaces.[5]


As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 7,672 people, 3,009 households, and 2,040 families residing in the town. The population density was 229.2 people per square mile (88.5/km²). There were 3,179 housing units at an average density of 95.0 per square mile (36.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.46% White, 0.38% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.

There were 3,009 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $45,542, and the median income for a family was $54,076. Males had a median income of $36,631 versus $24,083 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,506. About 4.8% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.7% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.

Notable natives and residents[edit]

Communities and locations in the Town of Palmyra[edit]

  • Cooney Crossing — A location by the west town line on County Road 210.
  • East Palmyra — A hamlet near the east town line on County Road 220. The East Palmyra Presbyterian Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.[7]
  • Palmyra — The Village of Palmyra on the Erie Canal.
  • Red Creek — A stream north of Palmyra village.
  • Wide Waters — A long narrow pond in the Erie Canal is partly in the southeast corner of the town.


  1. ^ The Woman's Society of the Western Presbyterian Church, ed. (1907), Palmyra, Wayne County, New York, Rochester, N. Y.: The Herald Press, LCCN 07041771, OCLC 4092801, OL 7133414M 
  2. ^ a b Significant Events on the Smith Family Farm, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2010 [full citation needed]
  3. ^ Palmyra Kings Daughter’s Free Library Minutes for Feb. 19, 2009
  4. ^ Palmyra Community Library - Services
  5. ^ Palmyra Community Library opens its new location to the public
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 

External links[edit]