Massena, New York

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Town of Massena
Nickname(s): Gateway to the Fourth Coast
Massena is located in New York
Location within the state of New York
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Country United States
State New York
County St. Lawrence
Incorporated 1802
 • Type Town council
 • Town supervisor Tim Currier
 • Total 56.14 sq mi (145.4 km2)
 • Land 44.37 sq mi (114.9 km2)
 • Water 11.77 sq mi (30.5 km2)
Elevation 200 ft (61 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 10,883
 • Density 190/sq mi (75/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 13662
Area code(s) 315
FIPS code 36-46030
GNIS feature ID 979205

Massena is a town in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. Massena is located on the northern Canadian border of the county. The population was 10,883 at the 2010 census.[1] The town of Massena contains a village also named Massena. The town and its village are named after André Masséna, a general and Marshal of France during the Napoleonic Wars.


The town was first settled circa 1792 by French lumberjacks. Unlike much of northern New York, Massena was not completely in the Macomb's Purchase.[citation needed] Massena was one of the first towns of the county and was incorporated with the county in 1802. The town is named after one of Napoleon's field marshals, André Masséna, who commanded around that time.[2]

The town suffered natural disasters in 1944 (earthquake) and in 1998 (ice storm).


The economy of early Massena was partly based on health spas, but the modern town is involved in power production, aluminum production at ALCOA, and the commerce of the St. Lawrence Seaway.[citation needed]

Massena is home to an Alcoa Aluminum plant, the longest continually operating aluminum facility in the world, and a former Reynolds Metals Company plant, now called Alcoa East (temporarily idled in July 2009). Alcoa currently employs over 1100 people at its facilities in Massena, making it one of the largest private employers in New York north of Syracuse, contributing over $340 million annually to the area's economy.[3]

Massena is also home to a former General Motors aluminum engine-casting plant for Chevrolet, GMC, Cadillac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac and Saturn which was closed in 2008, laying off or relocating over 600 employees. [4] The New York Power Authority also operates a hydroelectric power generating dam, the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project, on the St. Lawrence River adjacent to Massena. Curran Renewable Energy manufactures wood pellet fuel and mulch in the town.

Massena is also home to the Eisenhower Locks, part of the St. Lawrence Seaway which allows ships and vessels to pass through the St. Lawrence River and onto the Great Lakes.

Massena's economy has contracted in recent years due to shifts in the manufacturing economy. The town has recently made attempts to diversify its economy by promoting a mixture of high tech industries, retail industries and tourism based on its location on the St. Lawrence River and proximity to the Adirondack mountains.

On November 2, 2015, Alcoa announced the permanent closure of Alcoa East, and the idling of the smelter at the remaining plant, known as "Alcoa West". The Forgings and Extrusions facilities at Alcoa West were unaffected. The changes resulted in the loss of 487 jobs.[5] Through negotiations with New York State, 400 jobs were saved until 2019.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 944
1830 2,070 119.3%
1840 2,726 31.7%
1850 2,870 5.3%
1860 2,925 1.9%
1870 2,560 −12.5%
1880 2,739 7.0%
1890 2,740 0.0%
1900 3,904 42.5%
1910 4,806 23.1%
1920 8,975 86.7%
1930 12,029 34.0%
1940 12,979 7.9%
1950 14,862 14.5%
1960 17,937 20.7%
1970 16,021 −10.7%
1980 14,856 −7.3%
1990 13,826 −6.9%
2000 13,121 −5.1%
2010 10,883 −17.1%
Est. 2014 10,067 [6] −7.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]

File:Massena, NY Water tower 2005.jpg

Massena has attracted an array of immigrants throughout its history, with many citizens of French, Irish, German, Italian & Sicilian heritage. Massena is also home to many Armenian Americans who came to the United States during Armenian genocide in the early 20th century. The town also has a sizable Jewish and Eastern European population.

In 2012, there were 10,536 people, down from 16,021 in 1970. As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 13,121 people, 2,510 households, and 3,454 families residing in the town. The population density was 293.7 inhabitants per square mile (113.4/km2). There were 5,880 housing units at an average density of 131.6 per square mile (50.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.80% White, 0.30% Black or African American, 3.25% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.

There were 5,510 households out of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.91 and the average family size was 3.27.

In the town the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $28,391, and the median income for a family was $32,696. Males had a median income of $32,484 versus $18,819 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,111. About 16.9% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.4% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.

Communities and locations in Massena

  • Barnhardt Island – An island in the St. Lawrence River northeast of Massena village. The island is at the international border and is the northernmost point of land in New York.
  • Long Sault Island ("Isle au Long Saut") – An island in the St. Lawrence River north of Massena village.
  • Massena – A village at the west town line on both banks of the Grasse River.
  • Massena Center – A hamlet northeast of Massena village.
  • Massena Power Canal – A waterway connecting the Grasse River to the St. Lawrence River.
  • Massena Springs – A hamlet south of Massena village by the Raquette River. The community was the site of health resorts and hotels based on sulphurous spring water.
  • Raquette River – A hamlet east of Massena village, located by the Raquette River. It was first settled around 1804.
  • Robert Moses State Park – A state park in the northern part of the town.
  • Rooseveltown – A hamlet near the eastern town line by the Raquette River.
  • Wiley Dondero Canal – A waterway constructed as part of the St. Lawrence power project.


The town is served by Massena International Airport, located east of Massena village, south of NY-37.



Some of the town's main employers are Dwight D. Eisenhower Lock, Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam, ALCOA, Massena Memorial Hospital, Highland Nursing Home, and St. Regis Nursing Home.

Notable people

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 202.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Layoffs May Be Looming at Alcoa Plant in Massena. Post Standard, January 20, 2014 Accessed January 25, 2014
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. National Teachers Hall of Fame web site
  9. Reichler, Joseph L., ed. (1979) [1969]. The Baseball Encyclopedia (4th ed.). New York: Macmillan Publishing. ISBN 0-02-578970-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. 'Wisconsin Blue Book 1899, Biographical Sketch of Horace N. Polley, pg. 770
  11. Michaud, John D. III, ed. (2004) [2004]. More than Otis: No Bull! A Salute to Hollywood Actor Hal J. Smith (1st ed.). Massena, New York: Stubbs Printing.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links