North Elba, New York

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{island, water, area}

North Elba is a town in Essex County, New York, United States. The population was 8,661 at the 2000 census.[1] The town is named after the island of Elba.[citation needed]

North Elba is on the western edge of the county. It is 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Plattsburgh.[2], 42 miles (67 km) west-northwest from Burlington, VT, 88 miles (141 km) south-southwest of Montreal, Quebec, and 113 miles (182 km) north of Albany, NY.[3]

The entirety of the village of Lake Placid is located within the boundaries of North Elba, as is part of the village of Saranac Lake.

North Country Community College is located in North Elba. The Adirondack Scenic Railroad traverses the town.



The town was first settled around 1814.

The town was formed from part of the town of Keene in 1849.

John Brown, attracted by the views of local Abolitionist Gerrit Smith, came to the town in 1849 to found a community for former black slaves. Brown left from his farm for the raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859.

The town and its village, Lake Placid, were the site of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics.

Notable residents

  • John Brown, the famous abolitionist, is buried on his family's farm in North Elba.
  • Melvil Dewey, inventor of the Dewey Decimal System, founded a resort in the town.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 156.4 square miles (405.2 km²), of which, 151.9 square miles (393.4 km²) of it is land and 4.6 square miles (11.8 km²) of it (2.92%) is water.

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