Brighton, Franklin County, New York

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Brighton is a town in Franklin County, New York, United States. The population was 1,682 at the 2000 census. It was named after Brighton, England by early surveyors in the region.

The Town of Brighton is in the southwest part of the county and is inside the Adirondack Park.

Paul Smith's College is in the community of Paul Smiths, a hamlet of Brighton.



The town was first settled around 1815.

The Town of Brighton was founded in 1858 from part of the Town of Duane. Apollos "Paul" Smith arrived in 1859 and gradually built up a hotel in the community that bears his name. Having become an important Adirondack Hotel, Paul Smith's College was established by his family. The College now uses the land where the hotel once stood along Lower St. Regis Lake. Also around that time James Wardner had a small hotel on Rainbow Lake.

Among the "second round" of settlers in the Town of Brighton after Follensby, S. Johnson, the Rice brothers, Amos and Levi; Oliver Keese and Thomas A. Tomlinson; James and Seth Wardner, were the Ricketsons, the Rands, the Dustins, Jute Q. King and his son, Philemon King. They were scattered along the highway from Keese Mill and McColloms to Paul Smiths to Easy Street to the Split Rock Road and to Rainbow Lake and Jones Pond.

The hamlet now-called Gabriels actually originated back when only the Rands, the Ricketsons, the Dustins, the Otis' were settled on farms nearer to the Split Rock Road and Ricketson Brook in the southern part of the town along the boundary with the Town of Harrietstown than where Gabriels is currently situated. It wasn't until the Adirondack & St. Lawrence Railway came in 1892 that Gabriels expanded northward with many settling near the railroad station. The railroad brought the Sister's of Mercy with their tuberculosis sanitorium, it brought Muncil's saw mill. Paul Smith's Hotel immediately started a stage line to the railroad station.

Also during the 19th Century, sanatoria for the treatment of tuberculosis were erected. The Gabriels Sanatorium. opened in 1897, is now Camp Gabriels, a New York prison.

The Brighton Town Hall was designed and built by Benjamin A. Muncil in 1914. Muncil was a talented local builder who also designed and built Marjorie Merriweather Post's Camp Topridge, and White Pine Camp, which was used as a summer White House of US President Calvin Coolidge.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 83.0 square miles (215.0 km²), of which, 78.0 square miles (202.1 km²) of it is land and 5.0 square miles (12.9 km²) of it (5.99%) is water.

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