Belfast, New York

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Belfast is a town in Allegany County, New York, United States. The population was 1,714 at the 2000 census. It was named after the city of Belfast in Northern Ireland.



The first settlers had arrived by 1804.

The town of Belfast was established in 1824 as the town of Orrinsburgh from part of the town of Caneadea. The name was changed to Belfast in 1825 due to the large amount of settlers in the area of Irish descent. The hamlet of Belfast was established as a "mill town" with water power from the Genesee River, which runs across the town. In 1831, the size of the town increased by adding more territory from Caneadea.

The Genesee Valley Canal was completed around 1853 and stimulated the growth of the hamlet Belfast, which was later served by three railroads. The canal warehouse known as Rail and Titsworth Canal Warehouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.[1]

Some trouble arose in the mid-19th century when the increasing English population of the town caused concern for many of the Irish residents. After some initial conflicts, many of the Irish residents moved across to the far side of the river, but were not placated, instead choosing to occasionally enter into the English section and cause trouble; this was met with similar action by the English settlers. Although most of these clashes were minor, a larger conflict occurred from 1846–1847, when a food shortage in the area raised tensions. This was quelled eventually by New York State militia groups. A sawmill and grist mill were set up by David Sanford in 1809. They were briefly taken control of by the Irish faction in 1847 before the state militia intervened.

Sandstone for grindstones was quarried in the late 1870s above the mouth of White Creek at Rockville.

In the 1980s an Amish community settled in the town and made their living with farming, sawmilling and furniture making.

Since the 1970s, several pirate radio stations have used the Belfast post office as a mail drop to receive letters from listeners. [1]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.5 square miles (94.6 km²), of which, 36.2 square miles (93.9 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.7 km²) of it (0.77%) is water.

The Genesee River flows northward through the northeast corner of the town and is partly paralleled by New York State Route 19, which intersects County Road 26 in Belfast hamlet.

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