Vestal, New York

Coordinates: 42°05′04″N 76°03′12″W / 42.08444°N 76.05333°W / 42.08444; -76.05333
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Vestal, New York
Vestal DLW station, today refashioned as the Vestal Museum (2006)
Vestal DLW station, today refashioned as the Vestal Museum (2006)
Official seal of Vestal, New York
Map highlighting Vestal's location within Broome County.
Map highlighting Vestal's location within Broome County.
Vestal is located in New York
Location within state of New York
Vestal is located in the United States
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 42°05′04″N 76°03′12″W / 42.08444°N 76.05333°W / 42.08444; -76.05333
Country United States
State New York
 • TypeTown Council
 • Town SupervisorJohn Shaffer
 • Town Council
Members' List
 • Total52.56 sq mi (136.13 km2)
 • Land51.73 sq mi (133.97 km2)
 • Water0.84 sq mi (2.17 km2)  1.62%
1,010 ft (308 m)
 • Total29,110
 • Estimate 
 • Density542.91/sq mi (209.62/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
Area code607
FIPS code36-007-77255
GNIS feature ID0979582

Vestal is a town within Broome County in the Southern Tier of New York, United States, and lies between the Susquehanna River and the Pennsylvania border. As of the 2020 census, the population was 29,110.[5] Vestal is on the southern border of the county, and serves as a western suburb of the city of Binghamton.[6] The town is home to the main campus of Binghamton University.[7][8]


The first European settlers arrived in Vestal around 1785.

The central area of Vestal, near Route 26 at Choconut Creek, was the site of an indigenous village of the Ochugnut tribe of the Tuscarora people. During the American Revolution, a squad of soldiers from the Sixth Massachusetts Regiment, under the command of Lt. William McKendry[9] were sent to engage the tribes, when possible, and destroy their homes and crops. During the summer of 1779, the squad did burn at least two villages without encountering resistance, including one situated in what is now nearby downtown Binghamton (the Chenango, at the confluence of the Chenango and Susquehanna rivers), and the Ochugnut (Choconut) at the site of Choconut Creek near present-day Vestal High School.

This campaign during the American Revolution was initiated following Indigenous predations against settlers, presumed to have been carried out by tribes forming part of the Iroqouis alliance. This hostile activity against settlers was encouraged by the British. However, some evidence indicates that at least some of the indigenous people were actually Tuscarora— who fled from North Carolina after wars in 1711 and the War of 1763. This community was actually sympathetic to the American cause, siding against the rest of the Iroquois confederation. See Sullivan Expedition or external links for more information on the role of Upstate New York in this conflict.[10][11]

Following the war, several European families settled in the area near the town of Union. The town of Vestal was formed from the southern half of Union in 1823.

In 1901, on June 8, Vestal was the location of a huge explosion of dynamite aboard a train of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. A second train crashed into that train from behind while it was taking on water. The trains were destroyed and twelve trainmen were killed and injured. So many curiosity seekers came to view the scene that extra trains had to be run to bring them to it.[12]

The history of the town is closely related to its neighbors, Binghamton, Endicott, and Johnson City. During the 20th century, Vestal served as a residential suburb to emerging industries in its area, such as Endicott Johnson Corporation, IBM, and Lockheed Martin. In 1954, the state of New York broke ground on a new 387-acre (1.57 km2) campus for Harpur College in Vestal.[7][13][14] The college, part of the SUNY system, moved from Endicott to Vestal by 1961, and has since grown significantly and been renamed Binghamton University.[7]

The Kopernik Observatory & Science Center[15] is a public observatory in Vestal opened to the public on June 16, 1974, by the Kopernik Society of Broome County to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of the astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (Polish: Mikołaj Kopernik) in 1973.[16] It is one of the best-sited and best equipped public observatories in the Northeast United States.[17][18][19]

During the 1990s, Vestal became the major retail center of the Southern Tier region of New York, with many large shopping centers such as the Town Square Mall, Parkway Plaza, Shoppes at Vestal, and Campus Plaza being built along the Vestal Parkway (NY Route 434), which became one of the busiest roads in the area. Vestal's historic central business district is located along three blocks of Front Street, still lined with small shops.

The Drovers Inn and Round Family Residence and Vestal Central School were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.[20]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 52.6 square miles (136.2 km2), of which 51.7 square miles (134.0 km2) is land, and 0.85 square miles (2.2 km2) (1.62%) is water. The town of Vestal is on the south side of the Susquehanna River.

New York State Route 17 passes across the northern part of the town and intersects north–south highway New York State Route 26 by the Susquehanna River. New York State Route 434, Vestal Parkway, intersects NY-26 south of the NY-17 junction. New York State Route 201 also crosses to the north shore of the Susquehanna River, linking the eastern part of Vestal with the village of Johnson City.


The Town of Vestal recognizes five hamlets within its borders:[21][22]

  • Ross Corners is named for David Ross, a prominent lumberman who owned a store during much of the 19th century in the west of the town.
  • Tracy Creek is named for Benjamin Tracy and is situated by a creek of the same name. It was originally a lumbering and farming community. It is also located in the western section of the town.
  • Twin Orchards is a hamlet on the south bank of the Susquehanna River, named for the large orchards that used to border both sides of its main road.
  • Vestal Center is located on NY-26 at the intersection of County Road 53, on the Big Choconut Creek about 4 miles (6 km) south of the main district, and approximately 3 miles (5 km) north of the Pennsylvania state line. It was originally spelled in English fashion ("Vestal Centre"), but this was changed in 1893. President Theodore Roosevelt once visited and gave a speech.
  • Willow Point is located east of Twin Orchards, also on the south bank of the Susquehanna River.


Historical population
2021 (est.)29,353[23]0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the Census of 2000, there were 26,535 people, 8,525 households, and 5,924 families residing in the town. In the 2010 census, the number becomes 28,043.[24] The population density was 508.5/sq mi (196.3/km2). There were 8,898 housing units at an average density of 170.5/sq mi (65.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 87.13% White, 2.19% African American, 0.15% Native American, 8.33% Asian, 0.99% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.40% of the population.

There were 8,525 households, out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.9% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. Of all households 25.1% were made up of individuals, and 10.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 18.9% under the age of 18, 24.0% from 18 to 24, 20.6% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $51,098, and the median income for a family was $60,676. Males had a median income of $48,731 versus $29,035 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,363. About 4.3% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.6% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.

Parks and recreation[edit]

Nature preserve at Binghamton University
Red & Purple-leafed trees, green grass, blue sky
Arnold Park in the Fall
Welcome sign at the Town of Vestal Rail Trail

The town of Vestal has 21 town operated and maintained parks.[25]

Vestal Rail Trail is 2.1 miles (3.4 km) long, and features a paved path.[25]


Vestal is a "full service town",[26] and has a police department, fire department, EMS, highway department, water department, library, museum, and school district.




Retail along the Vestal Parkway

New York State Route 17 passes through Vestal.

Broome County Transit provides bus service.

Vestal had been a stop, midway between Binghamton and Owego, on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western's mainline, serving passenger trains such as the Phoebe Snow.

Fire department[edit]

The Vestal Fire Department (VFD) is a volunteer fire department operating in Vestal, and neighboring communities when called to assist. It is taxpayer supported.[29]

Volunteer Emergency Squad[edit]

The Vestal Volunteer Emergency Squad (VVES) provides emergency medical services. It receives no taxpayer support, and has one station, four nontransporting EMS vehicles, five ambulances, one gator, one trailer, six operational officers, 45 volunteer EMS personnel, 21 volunteer support members, eight full time paramedics, 12 part time paramedics, and receives over 38,000 calls per year.[30]


The Vestal Police Department (VPD) has 39 sworn police officers, three civilian staff, 10 civilian school crossing guards, and three school resource officers. The VPD shares a joint special response team with other Broome County agencies, a K-9 unit, detectives, and bicycle patrol.[31]


  1. ^ "Town of Vestal Board Members". Archived from the original on June 16, 2009. Retrieved July 14, 2009.
  2. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  3. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  4. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  5. ^ "Population Estimates Base, April 1, 2020, (V2021): Vestal town, Broome County, New York". U.S. Census Bureau, Quickfacts. Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  6. ^ Kaufman, Michael (June 19, 1973). "Urban Ills Dog Binghamton, But It Hopes to Fight Back; Left for the Suburbs Bigger County Role Still the Hub Resources Include V.I.P.'s". New York Times. p. 41. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  7. ^ a b c "History of Harpur College". Harpur College of Arts and Sciences - Binghamton University. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  8. ^ "State to Dedicate Harpur's Campus". New York Times. September 25, 1960. p. 71. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  9. ^ [1] Archived September 15, 2004, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "History of Union, New York". Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  11. ^ [2] Archived January 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Smith, Gerald R. "Vestal tracks site of death, destruction in 1901". Press & Sun-Bulletin.
  13. ^ "History - Nature Preserve". Binghamton University. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  14. ^ Smith, Gerald (January 7, 2016). "The day that transformed Vestal in October 1954". Press & Sun-Bulletin. Retrieved July 11, 2023.
  15. ^ Moss, Justin (March 14, 2007). "Kopernik Space Center Takes Back Control". WBNG-TV. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  16. ^ "Dedication Day Program". September 5, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2014.
  17. ^ "Kopernik Observatory & Science Center". Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  18. ^ Fun with the Family Upstate New York: Hundreds of Ideas for Day Trips with the Kids, Mary Lynn Blanks, Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, ISBN 9780762754083, p. 69
  19. ^ Kate Sherwood. "15 Places You Absolutely Have To Visit In Binghamton". Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  20. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  21. ^ [3] Archived October 16, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Home". April 17, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  23. ^ "Population Estimates". Retrieved July 25, 2022.
  24. ^ [4] Archived October 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ a b "Town of Vestal, NY". Archived from the original on June 14, 2015. Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  26. ^ "Welcome to Town of Vestal, New York". Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  27. ^ "Ross Corners Christian Academy". Retrieved June 12, 2015.
  28. ^ "Hillel Academy - Binghamton New York - Welcome to Hillel Academy of Broome County". Retrieved January 19, 2022.
  29. ^ "Welcome to Vestal, NY". Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  30. ^ admin. "About Us". Vestal Volunteer Emergency Squad. Retrieved July 5, 2023.
  31. ^ "Welcome to Vestal, NY". Retrieved July 5, 2023.

External links[edit]