For a small industrial city, Auburn has been home to an unusually high number of remarkable men and women. Among them are Logan, or Tahgahjute, the Iroquois orator; Harriet Tubman, the African American leader; William H. Seward, the visionary statesman; Thomas Mott Osborne, the pioneer of prison reform; and Theodore W. Case, the inventor of sound film. Tributes to all can be found in the city.
Before the invasion of the whites, Auburn was a Cayuga Indian village established at the junction of two trails. Revolutionary War veteran Col. John Hardenbergh arrived in 1793 and built the area’s first gristmill. By 1810, the budding village boasted 90 dwellings, 17 mills, and an incorporated library containing 200 books.
The opening of the Auburn State Prison in 1817 and the Auburn Theological Seminary in 1821 greatly stimulated growth, and by the mid-1800s, Auburn was thriving. It even entertained hopes of becoming the state capital. The impressive public buildings on Capitol Street and lavish private homes on State Street date back to those heady days.
© Avalon Travel and Sascha Zuger from Moon New York State, 5th Edition