Rome is a city in New York State. It is located in Oneida County, which is in north-central or "Upstate" New York. The population was 33,725 at the 2010 census. Rome is one of two principal cities in the Utica-Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area, which lies in the "Leatherstocking Country" made famous by James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. Rome is in New York's 24th congressional district.
The city occupies a site that was important to the main 18th and 19th century waterway connecting the Atlantic seaboard of North America to the Great Lakes. The original settlements were associated with fortifications erected in the 1750s to defend the waterway, and in particular the British Fort Stanwix (1763). The development into a city began with the construction of the Rome Canal along the waterway in 1796, and in the same year the Town of Rome was formally created as a section of Oneida County. For a time, the small community immediately next to the canal was informally known as Lynchville, after the original owner of the property. The Town of Rome was converted formally into a city by the New York State Legislature on February 23, 1870. The residents have called Rome the City of American History.
Early History: The Oneida Carrying Place
For hundreds of years, the area occupied by the modern City of Rome, NY has enjoyed great strategic and commercial importance, sitting along an ancient east/west and northern trade route from the Great Lakes and Canada to the Hudson River and the sea. The city is built astride the Oneida Carrying Place, known to the Six Nations or Haudenosaunee people, as Deo-Wain-Sta, or The Great Carrying Place. These names refer to a portage road or path between the Mohawk River to east and Wood Creek to the west, leading to Lake Ontario. Located within the modern city limits, this short portage path was the only overland section of a trade route stretching over a thousand miles between Lake Ontario and the lower Hudson. Boats coming up the Mohawk River from the Hudson had to transfer their cargo and boats overland between 1.7 and six miles (depending on the season) to continue west to Lake Ontario.
The region was the scene of bloody fighting during the French and Indian War. The British had erected several small forts to guard the Oneida Carrying Place and the lucrative fur trade against French incursions from Canada. However, a combined French, Canadian and Native American force overwhelmed and massacred a British force in the Battle of Fort Bull. Later in 1758, after several abortive attempts to fortify the area, the British sent a very large force to secure the Oneida Carry and build a stronger rampart complex named Fort Stanwix. The fort was abandoned at the conclusion of the war.
Revolutionary War and Fort Stanwix
At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War, American Continental forces reoccupied, rebuilt and improved Fort Stanwix. The installation played a pivotal role in the Saratoga Campaign of 1777, becoming renowned as "the fort that never surrendered". Patriot militia, regulars, and their Oneida Nation allies under the command of Col. Peter Gansevoort, successfully repelled a prolonged siege in August 1777 by British, German, Loyalist, Canadian and Native American troops and warriors commanded by British Gen. Barry St. Leger. The failed siege combined with the battle at nearby Oriskany as well as the battles of Bennington, and Saratoga thwarted a coordinated British effort to take the northern colonies, and led to American alliances with France and the Netherlands.
After the British repulse at Fort Stanwix, bloody fighting erupted along the American northern frontier, resulting in terrible losses to American settlers but especially the people of the Six Nations. Fort Stanwix became the primary staging point for American attacks against British loyalist units and their Haudenosaunee allies, including the Sullivan Expedition of 1779, a ruthless scorched earth campaign against Iroqouis villages allied with the British. This campaign was ordered by George Washington in response to fierce frontier attacks and atrocities such as the Cherry Valley Massacre by loyalist irregulars led by Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant and John Butler. The fort continued to shield America's northwest frontier from British campaigns until it was finally abandoned in 1781.
Commercial Growth: The Erie Canal
Manufacturing Legacy: The Copper City
Revere Copper Products, Inc. is one of the oldest manufacturing companies in the United States. Revere Copper Products Incorporated was formed in Rome, NY between 1928 and 1929 as a series of mergers between several companies of which one of them being Revere Copper Company located in Canton, Massachusetts. The first president of Revere Copper Products, Inc George H. Allen was formerly the president of Michigan Copper and Brass Company also included in the merger. The early history of Revere Copper Products, Inc is detailed in the book Copper Heritage: The Story of Revere Copper and Brass, Inc. by Isaac F. Marcosson. At one time, 10 percent of all copper products used in the United States were manufactured in Rome.
The City of Rome was incorporated in 1870.
Cold War and Technology Role
Between 1951 and 1991, the Rome Air Development Center (RADC) was located at Griffiss AFB. In 1991, the RADC was redesignated Rome Laboratory. It remained active as the Griffiss AFB was closed as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process in 1993. In 1997, Rome Laboratory was made part of the Air Force Research Laboratory and renamed the Rome Research Site. The RADC has been responsible for some of the United States Air Force's major technological accomplishments, especially in the area of radio communications.
The Eastern Air Defense Sector (EADS) is also located in Rome, on the site of the former Griffiss Air Force Base.
The nationally recognized rock festival, Woodstock 1999 was held in Rome, with the city once again making use of the former Griffiss Air Force Base site. The 3-day festival was held the weekend of July 23–25, and drew a crowd of about 200,000 people. Cable network MTV covered the concert extensively, and live coverage of the entire weekend was available on pay-per-view. The festival featured a diverse assortment of acts including Metallica, Kid Rock, DMX, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Wyclef Jean; early reviews for many of the acts were positive; critics particularly praised performances by George Clinton, Jamiroquai, James Brown, Sheryl Crow, and Rage Against the Machine. A full list of appearances can be found at Woodstock 1999.
In July 2005, New York City developers, Park Drive Estates, purchased the former Woodhaven Housing- formerly the base housing for Griffiss Air Force officers and enlisted military members, and are in the process of re-developing that land into a resort-style active adult community.