Otisco, New York

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Otisco is a town in Onondaga County, New York, United States. The population was 2,561 at the 2000 census. The Town of Otisco is in the southwest part of the county. Otisco is situated at the northern edge of the Appalacian Highlands, where an escarpment declines to the Lake Ontario plain and the City of Syracuse five miles to the north. Extremely hilly terrain affords a sense of spatial grandeur and magnificent views.



The town was part of the former Central New York Military Tract. The town was first settled by outsiders around 1798, but permanent settlement began around 1801. The Town of Otisco was formed in 1806 from parts of other towns: Pompey, Marcellus, and Tully. The name, "Otisco," derives from the Native American (Iroquois), Us-te-ke, meaning "bitter-nut-hickory." The name "Otisco" appeared on an 1825 map. The same Iroquois name referred to Nine Mile Creek. This and alternate suggestions about the origin of the name appear in the Beauchamp article, cited below.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 31.2 square miles (80.7 km²), of which, 29.6 square miles (76.7 km²) of it is land and 1.5 square miles (4.0 km²) of it (4.94%) is water.

Otisco is in the Finger Lakes District of New York and borders Otisco Lake.

New York State Route 80 is a north-south highway in the town. A short part of US Route 20 crosses the northeast corner of the town.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 2,561 people, 922 households, and 693 families residing in the town. The population density was 86.4 people per square mile (33.4/km²). There were 1,200 housing units at an average density of 40.5/sq mi (15.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.27% White, 0.23% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.16% from other races, and 1.41% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.47% of the population.

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