Keene, New York

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Keene is a town in central Essex County, New York, United States. The population was 1,063 at the 2000 census. Keene is the home of Mount Marcy, the highest mountain in New York state, as well as the Great Range and 15 of the 46 High Peaks, and the Ausable Lakes, the source of the Ausable River. Trailheads for many of the High Peaks are located within the town, along with the Johns Brook Lodge of the Adirondack Mountain Club. All of the town is in the Adirondack Park, the largest state park in the nation.

The Town has completed a grassroots project to bring broadband service to more than 90% of the homes in Keene, and installing the service in every home with a student in the Town's award winning public school. The deep reach of this network into rural areas makes it unique in the Adirondack Park.



The town of Keene was created from splitting parts of the towns of Jay and Elizabethtown on March 19, 1808. This originally included current North Elba, but that was split in 1848 from the original Keene. The area had been made up of a mountainous and rocky surface, with a low population due to the unstable soil in the region. A nearby highway was extended to Keene Center via the towns of Lewis and Jay, but it was deemed unusable due to the structure of the area. The area had been a stronghold with the lumber and iron industries. However, exporting the items made by these industries was hard, because there was a lack of transportation in the area. Business began to grow around 1820, when the town then had sawmills, forges and gristmills being built. The riverbed region of Keene soon became the location of the first community, and the town began to grow, with Keene Flats becoming a community by 1840. The area continued to grow for several more decades after. In 1882, when the Adirondack Park was created as a protected area in the state, a privately tolled and maintained road to lower Ausable Lake was constructed.[1][2]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 156.6 square miles (405.6 km²), of which 156.1 square miles (404.2 km²) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.5 km²) (0.37%) is water.

Many of the High Peaks of the Adirondack Park are in or near the town, including Mount Marcy, the highest elevation in New York. The Garden, one of the most popular trail heads in the Adirondacks, is located in the hamlet of Keene Valley, and is the eastern end of the Johns Brook Trail, leading to Johns Brook Lodge, Mount Marcy, and the heart of the High Peaks Region.

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