|Town of Massena|
Gateway to the Fourth Coast
|o Type||Town council: Sam Carbone, Melanie Cunningham,Tom Miller, Al Nicola|
|o Town supervisor||Steve O'Shaughnessy|
|o Total||56.14 sq mi (145.42 km2)|
|o Land||44.34 sq mi (114.85 km2)|
|o Water||11.80 sq mi (30.56 km2)|
|Elevation||200 ft (61 m)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||278.66/sq mi (107.59/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||979205|
Massena is a town in St. Lawrence County, New York, United States. Massena is along the county's northern border, just south of the St. Lawrence River and the Three Nations Crossing of the Canada-United States border. The population was 12,883 at the 2010 census. The town of Massena contains a village also named Massena.
Massena was one of the first towns settled in St. Lawrence county, but was not incorporated until 1802. The town and its village are named after André Masséna, a general and Marshal to Napoleon during the Napoleonic Wars.
Up until the 1880s, the town was predominantly agricultural, mainly home to butter and cheese production. Aside from the dairy farmers (and the blacksmiths, craftsmen, and shopkeepers that serviced them), the town boasted the Massena Springs, a pair of sulfur springs, one hot and the other cold, reputed to possess healing powers known to the Native Americans before European settlement. In 1820, an Army veteran, Captain John Polley, hoping to capitalize on the properties, opened a hotel and began to advertise them. By 1858, three hotels, numerous rental cottages, a bathing house, and a plant that bottled and sold the spring water, had been built. By about 1900, the Springs' status as a popular resort had faded.
The first small mills were built in the 1830s, harnessing the Grasse River to turn their wheels. They included a saw mill, stone-cutter, and a tannery. In 1833, New York State Legislature approved a canal that would bypass a troublesome rapids hindering navigation on the St. Lawrence by linking the Grasse and St. Lawrence Rivers. However, the British Empire preempted this project by building the Cornwall Canal on the Canadian side of the River, completed in 1843. The Massena Canal project was revived at the end of the century and completed in 1898.
The modern town is involved in power production, aluminum production at ALCOA, and the commerce of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Massena's economy has suffered for the past few decades due to its large exposure to American manufacturing and the automotive industry. The town is home to an Alcoa Aluminum plant, the world's longest continually operating aluminum facility. Alcoa employs over 600 people at its facilities in Massena.
The Massena Power Canal (closed in 1958) connected the lower Grass River to the St. Lawrence River. A powerhouse built in the early 1900s provided hydroelectric power to the town. The New York Power Authority now operates a hydroelectric power generating dam, the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project, on the St. Lawrence River adjacent to Massena. Curran Renewable Energy manufactures wood pellet fuel and mulch in the town.
While on November 2, 2015, Alcoa announced the idling of the smelter at its "Alcoa West" plant, the facility remained open through negotiations with New York State, and 400 jobs were saved until 2019. The Forgings and Extrusions facilities at Alcoa West were unaffected. The changes resulted in the loss of 487 jobs.
It was estimated in 2013 that nearly 30% of Massena residents live below the poverty line. St. Lawrence County's poverty rate is higher than both the state and federal rates and ranks the 5th highest in New York State.
By 2012 industrial employment had declined and there were 10,357 people in the town, down from 16,021 in 1970.
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,121 people, 2,510 households, and 3,454 families residing in the town. The population density was 293.7 inhabitants per square mile (113.4/km2). There were 5,880 housing units at an average density of 131.6 per square mile (50.8/km2). The town's racial makeup was 96.80% White, 0.30% Black or African American, 1.25% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.18% from other races, and .02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.83% of the population.
There were 5,510 households, of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.98 and the average family size was 3.67.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.7% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.7 males.
The town's median household income was $28,391, and the median family income was $32,696. Males had a median income of $38,484 versus $18,819 for females. The per capita income was $15,111. About 16.9% of families and 28.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.4% of those under age 18 and 10.8% of those age 65 or over.
New York State Route 37, a northeast-southwest highway, passes along the outskirts of the town. The town is served by Massena International Airport, east of Massena village, south of NY-37. Trailways of New York provides bus service from Massena to Syracuse. The town had until 1961 been the terminus for New York Central Railroad (NYC) sleeping car passenger service on its St. Lawrence Division; the last sleepers came in from the NYC's Iroquois and the outgoing sleeper fed into the New York Special. The final run of regular local trains into the town was in 1964.
Some of the town's main employers are Dwight D. Eisenhower Lock, Robert Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam, ALCOA, Massena Memorial Hospital, Highland Nursing Home, and St. Regis Nursing Home.