Location of Association Island in New York State
|Area||65 acres (26 ha)|
|Highest elevation||249 ft (75.9 m)|
Association Island is a 65-acre (0.26 km2) island located at the northern tip of Stony Point, a peninsula on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. A part of the Town of Henderson, New York in Jefferson County, the island is about 16 miles (26 km) southwest of Watertown. A 1,300-foot (400 m) two-lane causeway connects the island to the mainland.
Association Island was once part of a continuous protrusion of land known in the 19th century as Six Town Point. The name was in reference to the town of Henderson being recorded as the sixth of 11 unnamed towns that were delineated during a 1796 survey of the Black River Tract. Erosion from Lake Ontario waves divided Six Town Point into several small islands at some time prior to 1898.
A fort of French construction briefly existed upon Six Town Point during the 18th century. It is uncertain exactly who constructed the fort, and precisely when it was constructed; however it was likely built in 1756 under the order of General Montcalm during the French and Indian War, just prior to his victory at the Battle of Fort Oswego in August 1756. The small fort, approximately 70 feet (21 m) long on each side, was likely abandoned soon after that battle.
In 1905 the National Electric Light Association bought the island, which resulted in the name "Association Island". NELA management used it for meetings. General Electric, after it acquired NELA in 1911, also used the island for company meetings.
The Elfun Society, a management organization and think-tank within General Electric, was founded on the island in 1928. The society's logo was a drawing of a large elm tree from the island. Kurt Vonnegut based some of the material in his 1952 novel Player Piano on General Electric's meetings and activities at the island, and claimed that the island was "shut down" after the book was widely read in Schenectady, New York, the location of the company's headquarters. General Electric donated the island to the YMCA in 1959, and the Elfun Society was dissolved by General Electric in 2014.
A non-profit group ran sailing and wind boarding competitions on the island in the 1970s. The US sailing team was based there while preparing for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, which held sailing competitions at Kingston, Ontario, about 30 miles (48 km) to the north.
The island became a privately owned RV park and resort in 1999.
- "Association Island". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- Emerson, Edgar C., ed. (1898). "The Town of Henderson". Our County and its People. A Descriptive Work on Jefferson County, New York. The Boston History Company. pp. 613–614. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- Haddock, John A. (1894). "Henderson". The Growth of a Century: as Illustrated in the History of Jefferson County, New York, from 1793 to 1894. Philadelphia, PA: Sherman & Company. p. 571. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
- "Association Island History". Elfun Society. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- "Elfun Society History - Founding". Elfun Society. Archived from the original on October 18, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- Scholes, Robert (1988). "A Talk with Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., 1973". In Allen, William Rodney. Conversations with Kurt Vonnegut. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. pp. 112–113. ISBN 0878053573. Retrieved September 26, 2015.
- Bump, Bethany (October 21, 2014). "Elfuns feeling like GE 'just divorced us'". The Daily Gazette. Schenectady, NY. Retrieved September 26, 2015.