About Potsdam

Potsdam History

Potsdam is one of the ten towns of Northern New York between the St. Lawrence River and the Adirondack Mountains, created in 1787 to promote settlement in the state. In 1803, the village was founded by Benjamin Raymond, a land surveyor for the Clarkson family, majority owners of the 40-mile-square town along the Raquette River.

The next 100 years saw the town and village flourish with dairy farms, sandstone, lumber and paper industries, along with an active business district. Education has played an important role in the village, beginning in 1816 with St. Lawrence Academy. In 1866, the Academy became the State Normal and Training School for teacher education.  It is the forerunner to present-day SUNY Potsdam, with its renowned Crane School of Music. The Thomas S. Clarkson Memorial School of Technology was founded in 1895 and is now Clarkson University. Today, the village population remains approximately 10,000, with an economy largely based on education, agriculture and hydroelectric power.


Special Thanks to the Potsdam Public Museum for providing this information. For more historical information about Potsdam, please visit the Potsdam Museum website.