Brief History of Arkport
Founded in 1797 by Christopher Hurlbut, Arkport began as a thriving agricultural center. Each spring when the waters were high, area farmers shipped crops, livestock, potash, timber and other items down the Canisteo River to Baltimore on "arks" built of local tall pine trees and other lumber. At the time the Canisteo River flowed from the hills of Bishopville down to the valley just north of Arkport and through the village where the current Marsh Ditch now flows. The arks were loaded behind the current houses on State Route 36 in fields called the ark yards. This practice continued for several years until the time (around 1825) the Erie Canal was built and it became more cost effective to ship goods via the canal. Hence the name Christopher Hurlbut gave his little town: "Ark-Port"!
Soon after, the railroad was built and began service around 1851. The river bed of the Canisteo River was moved to its present site along the western hill. The first railroads were independent companies; The Attica & Hornellsville followed by the Buffalo & Corning which later became a part of the great "Erie", a name synonymous with railroaders for the next century.
In the later half of the 19th Century, farmers began draining the swampy marsh just north of the village and converted it to extremely fertile muck land. These several hundred acres of rich farm land brought many many families to the area of who's decedents still call Arkport home.
The village was incorporated around 1913 and has experienced many changes over the years. Many of the names of families have remained in Arkport over the years, a testimony of people choosing to live the good life of small town living in rural America. Current population (as of the 2000 census) stands at 832 living in approximately 350 homes.
Another article found:
History of the Village of Arkport, Steuben County, NY
From: Landmarks of Steuben County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Harlo Hakes
Assisted By: L. C. Aldrich and Others
D. Mason & Company, Publishers,
Syracuse, New York, 1896
THE VILLAGE OF ARKPORT. - This pretty and busy little hamlet of about 400 population is located in the extreme northern part of the town of Hornellsville, in the vicinity where Chistopher Hurlbut made his first settlement, and from which point the famous ark was sent down the Canisteo in 1800, laden with grain. Judge Hurlbut was the founder of the place, the builder of the first mill and hotel, and also proprietor of the ark. Although this village has never attained either population or business interests sufficient to justify incorporation, it is nevertheless a place of some importance in the county, and as a shipping point for agricultural products it is quite noted. It is a station on the Buffalo division of the Erie, and also on the Central New York and Western Railroad. Since the construction of the road last mentioned the business interests have materially increased.
Arkport has two churches, Presbyterian and Methodist Protestant, and an excellent school. In 1894 the village, with some adjacent territory, was formed into a Union Free School district, superseding the old system formerly in operation. The members of the Board of Education are L. C. Healy, president, and N. O. Wheeler, Hiram Ellis, A. A. Sewell, Henry Colgrove, and Charles Lawrence. The school building is of brick and frame, substantially built, and is regarded as one of the best rural schools of the county. Three teachers are employed.
The industries of Arkport comprise the large planing mill, the feed and grist mill, the Stephens wagon factory. The business men are Taylor Brothers, general store; Daniel Curry, store; M. Weber, gun store; Willis Ellis, grocer; Hiram Ellis, hardware; Healy & Davenport, produce dealers and feed mill; Colgrove & Son, produce dealers; William M. Hurlbut, lumber dealer; A. M. Eiband, large planing mill; Stephens wagon factory; James F. Deeters, harness shop; Ira Hagadorn, wagon shop; Marshall Emery, jeweler; H. L. Gillette, druggist; Calvin Hawkins, proprietor of Hawkins House, and J. D. Taylor, postmaster.