Port Crane, New York: Greater Binghamton’s Once Busy Little Town
Today in ‘Our Neighborhoods,’ we take a look at my old stomping grounds, Port Crane, NY. Port Crane is in the town of Fenton in Broome County. From Albany street to Chenango Valley State Park, Hunt Hill Road and beyond, the locals refer to this entire area as being Port Crane, NY.
I lived in three different sections of Port Crane. Originally when I was an itty bitty baby, my parents and I lived in a meager home, by the Chenango River, where the route 88 westbound ramp was constructed.
We moved around a bit, and that later brought us into Virgina City Trailer park on NYS Route 369, lot A-1. There are a few mobile home parks in the area. No doubt that’s what helped boost the enrollment at Chenango Forks Central Schools back in the 60’s and 70’s. Eventually my parents built a home, just off NYS Route 369, south of our former home. We had the old Chenango Canal as part of our front lawn.
Port Crane owes it’s name to being a stop on the Chenango Canal, which connected Binghamton to Utica, and cut shipping time from Binghamton to Albany from 9 to 4 days. the canal operated from 1834 through 1876. The town prospered and grew with the advent of the canal. When the railroads came, the canal was gone, and the prosperity in Port Crane left with it. Today, Port Crane is a shadow of its former self.
But it’s still a great place to live!
It’s home to Chenango Valley State Park in which you can enjoy fishing, boating and swimming in Chenango Lake. There’s Lilly Lake, 3-camping areas, a challenging golf course, nature trails. ‘State Park,’ as we locals call it, is also home to Locke # 107 of the Chenango Canal. There’s not much left of it, and there is a small portion of the canal that still has water in it that you can walk along and imagine what it was like to operate a mule team, pulling canal boats along its towpath.
With the coming of the Chenango canal, Port Crane rapidly grew with stores, hotels, boat yards and repair and dry docks. Among the first settlers here were Samuel Andrews and James Hunt. Wheeler and Yates established the first store. In 1832 Samuel Andrews put up a mill in Osborne Hollow, known as the Shear mill. This mill was for many years a landmark in the vicinity of Osborne Hollow. As with practically every village that was located on the canal, when the canal went, prosperity went away too.
Port Crane was the home to former Yankee 2nd baseman and manager, Billy Martin who had a farm on Potter Hill Rd. (Martin was was killed in a collision during an ice storm at the end of the driveway to his farm on Christmas Day 1989.)
The home prices are in the low to moderate range. There’s waterfront property, land with amazing views and even some affordable farms and farmettes.
The Chenango river runs through Port crane and has some great fishing spots where you can pull out everything from small mouth and rock bass, to very aggressive walleye and northern pike. Hunting enthusiasts will love both small and big game seasons. The wildlife is abundant in this hamlet.
Interstate 88 crosses the south part of the town. New York State Route 7 parallels the interstate. New York State Route 369 is a north-south highway in the town and intersects New York State Route 79 at North Fenton. Port Crane is only about an eight minutes from downtown Binghamton, so you can have gold old country living, not too far from your employment.
If you live in Port Crane, you may have children going to three different schools, Chenango Forks, Chenango Valley or Harpursville. There are a few churches. The New York State Police Crime Lab is in Port Crane, as is the Town of Fenton offices.
If you like quiet living, wildlife, great fishing, a state owned park almost in your back yard, affordable housing and great schools, you will love Port Crane… part of ‘Our Neighborhoods.’
Thanks to Wikipedia, http://history.rays-place.com/ny/fenton-ny.htm, and my own noggin