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Palmyra, New York
—  Town  —
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Palmyra, New York
Location within the state of New York
Coordinates: 43°03′49″N 77°14′00″W / 43.06361°N 77.2333333°W / 43.06361; -77.2333333
Country United States
State New York
County Wayne
Created 1789
 - Total 33.7 sq mi (87.3 km2)
 - Land 33.5 sq mi (86.7 km2)
 - Water 0.2 sq mi (0.5 km2)
Elevation 480 ft (146 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 7,762
 - Density 230.3/sq mi (88.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 14522
Area code(s) 315
FIPS code 36-56231
GNIS feature ID 0970448

Palmyra is a town in Wayne County, New York, USA. The population was 7,672 at the 2000 census. The town is named after the ancient city Palmyra in Syria.

The Town of Palmyra is on the south border of the county. The town contains a village also named Palmyra. The town is about 20 miles southeast of Rochester, NY.


The prehistoric Adena Culture left mounds in the area.

Palmyra was part of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase.

The Town of Palmyra, originally called "Swift's Landing" and "District of Tolland," was created in 1789. During that year was the sole local encounter between natives and white settlers that resulted in deaths. The present name was adapted in 1796, reportedly to impress a new school teacher. There were almost one thousand people in the town in 1800.

The Erie Canal was completed up to Palmyra in 1822, although the canal was not completed to its western terminus until 1825.

In 1823, the Town of Macedon was formed from part of Palmyra's territory as part of the creation of Wayne County from Ontario County.

Birth of Latter Day Saint Movement

This region is the birthplace of the Latter Day Saint Movement, the largest body of which is officially known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since the 1840s. Founder Joseph Smith claimed to have had a visitation by God the Father and Jesus Christ here in 1820 (see First Vision) as well as receiving the Golden Plates in 1827. To his followers, the Book of Mormon is the translation of the Golden Plates; it was first published in Palmyra on March 26, 1830, by E.B. Grandin. That same year the Mormon church was formally organized in Fayette, New York, a town about 45 minutes from Palmyra. Members of the new religion moved farther west because of persecution after about 1831. The area has been re-inhabited by many members of this group. The Hill Cumorah Pageant is held every summer in the town, using the side of a drumlin or hill, called the Hill Cumorah, as a stage. The pageant recreates events described in the Book of Mormon, most notably the visitation of Jesus Christ to the Americas. The Pageant draws tourists to the area every year. The LDS Church have also built a temple in Palmyra, and have restored or recreated many homes and structures associated with Smith, his family and early Latter Day Saint history.


Palmyra is the only place in the world that has four churches on the four corners of two intersecting highways, although Holy Corner in Edinburgh has four church buildings at opposite corners of a crossroad junction (one of which is no longer used as a church).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.7 square miles (87.3 km²), of which, 33.5 square miles (86.7 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.5 km²) of it (0.62%) is water.

The Erie Canal passes across the county, through the Village of Palmyra. The south town line is the border of Ontario County.

New York State Route 21 (north-south) intersects New York State Route 31 (east-west) in Palmyra village.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 7,672 people, 3,009 households, and 2,040 families residing in the town. The population density was 229.2 people per square mile (88.5/km²). There were 3,179 housing units at an average density of 95.0/sq mi (36.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.46% White, 0.38% Black or African American, 0.36% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.22% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.

There were 3,009 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 25.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the town the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 98.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $45,542, and the median income for a family was $54,076. Males had a median income of $36,631 versus $24,083 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,506. About 4.8% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.7% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.

Notable Palmyrans

  • Joseph Smith, Jr. (1805-1844), founder of the Latter Day Saint Movement, resided in the area from about 1816 to 1831
  • Author Kelly B. Lynch (b. 1961), ("They Say...and Who are 'They'?")
  • American Businessman Henry Wells (1805-1878), founder of American Express and co-founder of Wells Fargo
  • Scholar/Educator Catherine Beal (1850-1941)
  • Admiral William T. Sampson (1840-1902), Spanish American War
  • Increase Lapham (1811-1875), "father" of the United States Weather Service

Communities and locations in the Town of Palmyra

  • Cooney Crossing — A location by the west town line on County Road 210.
  • East Palmyra — A hamlet near the east town line on County Road 220.
  • Palmyra — The Village of Palmyra on the Erie Canal.
  • Red Creek — A stream north of Palmyra village.
  • Wide Waters — A long narrow pond in the Erie Canal is partly in the southeast corner of the town.


  1. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links

Template:Wayne County, New York