Town of Torrey    ph. 315-536-6376
56 Geneva St.
Dresden, NY 14441

Torrey History

The Town of Torrey is located on Seneca Lake in Yates County in the Finger Lakes district of New York. Settled in 1788 by members of Jemima Wilkinson’s Friends Society seeking to found a New Jerusalem, Torrey became a township in 1851, the last of nine townships established in Yates County.

With a land area of less than 40 square miles and a population of less than 1,300, Torrey is one of the smaller towns in the county. Torrey contains one village, Dresden, notable as the birthplace of Robert Ingersoll, orator, freethinker, and opponent of fanaticism.

Distinctive features of the Torrey landscape include the extensive 17 miles of Seneca Lake shoreline, and the many pristine farms and vineyards that constitute well over 72 % of the area of the Town. The agriculture is small scale— market gardens, truck farms, and dairy farms, and an increasing proportion is organic. A majority of the agricultural enterprises are family owned, many by members of the large Mennonite community in Torrey. The vineyards on the slopes above Seneca Lake supply the half dozen wineries making up Torrey’s contribution to the Seneca Lake Wine Trail that winds down Route 14. The quality of locally produced wines, particularly the Rieslings, has been recognized by an increasing number of national and international prizes over the past several years, and by the praise of connoisseurs who collect Torrey wines for their cellars.
Barnes Store and American Hotel

Methodist Church

Docs at foot of Seneca Street

Train coming to the branch into Dresden.

Selected Historical Documents

Betty Smalley - Torrey Historian

Newspaper article about Betty Smalley - Torrey Historian for over 30 years, deciding to retire at the age of 94.

Betty passed in 2005 at the age of 96.


Bolton Brown

1995 Crooked Lake Review article about Bolton Brown, Dresden’s "other" famous son.

Canal Property Case Transcript

Full transcript of the Canal Property Case dated October 16, 1996.

Dresden Tornado - 1976

1978 Chronicle-Express article covering the tornado that struck Dresden.

Dresden Train Station - 1878

This is optional text.

Duck Plague - 1994

Duck Plague virus in the Finger Lakes in 1994.

Early Dresden Houses

Leach house, Willis house, Dresden four corners.

Historical Facts Of Dresden

Little known facts about the early days of Dresden.

History Of The Automobile In Torrey

Newspaper article from the Yates County Chronicle, October - 1907.

History Of The Dresden Hotel

Early history of the Dresden Hotel.  Built about 1826 by Joseph Remer, it was initially called the "Eagle Hotel."


History Of Yates County And The Town of Torrey

Detailed history of Yates County and the Town of Torrey.

How Anthony Road Got Its Name

1998 Chronicle Express explaining how Anthony Road got its name.

Isaac Bogart - Early Settler Of Dresden.

Story of Isaac Bogart, an Attorney from Geneva, designer and one of the first settlers of Dresden.

Long Point Hotel

The Long Point Hotel opened June 27, 1882 by S. K. Nestor of Geneva, with 76 rooms.

Lost Village Of Hopeton

The forgotten village of Hopeton lies about 14 miles South of Geneva, near Dresden.  Due to the booming growth of Dresden with the with all the mills along the Keuka Outlet and the need for barge transportation of products, barge traffic increased on Seneca Lake shores substantionally as well as local employment.

Map Of Dresden - Circa 1876

Map of Dresden circa 1876.

Mystery And Beauty Of Seneca Lake

A 1995 Watkins Review and Express article covering early folklore surrounding Seneca lake.

Old Map Of Torrey Township

Undated map of Torrey Township, hand written.

Outlet Bridge Washed Out In The 1940s

Two photos taken when the Outlet bridge was washed out in the 1940s

Raplee Family Cemetery

Raplee Family Cenetery information with names and dates located in the Town of Milo, Randalls Crossing Road

Saloon On Ice

Seneca Lake froze over in 1875-76, and a new business was born.

Seneca Lake Sea Serpent

Seneca Lake Sea Serpent killed July 15th, 1900.  Detailed account carried by the Rochester Herald in July, 1900.

The "Colonial" - 1906 Steamer

In 1906, the steamer "Colonial" runs into the old stone piers, and passengers are conveyed ashore in row boats.

The Dresden Hotel

The Dresden Hotel once served as Dresden’s social center.

The Nosey Fish From Keuka

1998 Chronicle-Express article about an 1873 "fish story."

The Steamer "Onondaga"

The steamer "Onondaga" was launched in 1870 at the foot of Castle Street in Geneva.

Torrey Bicentennial

1976 Article covering the Torrey Bicentennial celebration.

Torrey Truth And Trivia

This information is taken from the pages of notebooks of Betty Smalley, longtime Town of Torrey Historian.

Transelco - The First 35 Years

Transelco is a Division of Ferro Corp. Maker of Diaelectric ceramics and polishing compounds.


Yates County Highway Department

Note considering the consolidation of Yates County Highway Departments.




All Rights Reserved
Copyright © 2017 Town of Torrey  •  New York  •  Yates County  •  Seneca Lake