Due to its strategic position on the St. Lawrence River, Prescott-Ogdensburg had a long native history before the first European presence. The initial colonial settlement was a fortress and 1749 French Catholic mission; the French fur trade in that era followed the river westward to reach the Great Lakes. During the Seven Years War (1750s), warriors from this fort attacked British colonists on behalf of the French. After the 1760 Battle of the Thousand Islands, the territory became British; in 1796, Jay's Treaty placed Fort Oswegatchie on the US side of the border. US settlers largely displaced the Oswegatchie natives and named the village Ogdensburgh after Samuel Ogden, an early landowner.
The city is directly on the border and clearly visible in the gunsights of Prescott's Fort Wellington. During the War of 1812, the city was captured by British forces; local merchants conducted extensive trade with Canada. Before the St. Lawrence Seaway (1958), Great Lakes vessels would unload grains in Prescott-Ogdensburg for transport eastward by rail. Early railways included the Ogdensburg & Lake Champlain Railroad (later Rutland Railroad) (1849), Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg Railroad (1853) and a Portland & Ogdensburg Railway (never completed).
International ferry crossings joined Prescott-Ogdensburg and Morristown-Brockville until the Prescott-Ogdensburg international bridge opened in 1960; from there, separate railways once joined Prescott-Ottawa and Brockville-Ottawa.
Once the Seaway eliminated the need for freight to be offloaded onto the railways (1958), Ogdensburg went into decline; the loss of much of its manufacturing industry also hurt the city. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21 aggravated matters by causing Canadian authorities to crack down on non-essential travel to Ottawa, less than an hour away.
- NY 37 runs from US 11 in Watertown through Morristown and Ogdensburg, then follows the river to Massena-Malone
- NY 812 takes a dog-legged journey from the Prescott-Ogdensburg bridge to Utica
- Ontario 416 runs 45 miles (75km) north from the Prescott-Ogdensburg bridge to suburban Ottawa
- Ontario 401 runs from Windsor-Détroit through Toronto to Montréal; the Prescott-Ogdensburg bridge is exit 721 southbound.
- St. Lawrence NYSARC, Price Chopper, 981 Ford St., ☏ . Weekday commuter bus service to Canton-Potsdam (three runs daily), Massena and Morristown. $2.
Passenger trains no longer stop in Prescott or Ogdensburg. VIA Rail's Toronto-Ottawa and Toronto-Montréal corridor services are available from Brockville. The closest Amtrak stations are in Utica-Rome or Plattsburgh.
- 1 Ogdensburg airport (OGS IATA). A small airport with two or three federally-subsidised flights daily.
- Municipal Marina, 100 Riverside Ave., ☏ . Docks for 71 boats, playground, tennis courts, swimming pool, and walking trail. $1/foot.
- A total solar eclipse on Monday 8 April 2024 starts at 3:24PM local time and lasts 2 min 30 sec. The chances of a clear sky are 35%. The track of totality is northeast from Mexico and Texas to Ohio then straddling the Canada–New England border.
- 1 Frederic Remington Art Museum, 303 Washington St., ☏ , fax: . Su 1-5PM; summer: M-Sa 10AM-5PM; winter: W-Sa 11AM-5PM. The Parish Mansion (the former family mansion of local industrialist David Parish) was home to Eva Remington, widow of artist Frederic Remington. The collection of Remington art and memorabilia includes notable paintings of the American West. $9, senior/student $8.
- Fort La Présentation, Lighthouse Point, Commerce Street. Archaeological site with historic monument and interpretive signs. A local group, the Fort La Présentation Association, proposes to reconstruct and operate the historic French mission fort as a living museum describing the diverse history and peoples of the area. The same group offers historical re-enactments and annual events related to the War of 1812.
- 2 Library Park Historic District, 303-323 Washington St., 100-112 Carolina St., and Liberty Park. National historic district includes seven contributing buildings, the Remington Art Museum (1809–10), Ogdensburg Public Library (1810), Library Park, and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
- Fish the Oswegatchie River
- Scuba diving on the St. Lawrence River
- Ogdensburg Command Performances, 1100 State Street-OFA, ☏ , fax: . Live theatre. $17-37, student/senior $15-34.
- Battle of Ogdensburg, Feb. 22, 1813. Fort de la Présentation Association and Forsyth’s Rifles conduct an annual re-enactment downtown.
- Duty-free shops operate in both directions at the Prescott-Ogdensburg bridge for traffic leaving each respective country.
- Big Cheese Pizza, 701 Canton St., ☏ .
- The Place, 1612 Ford St., ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-2AM, Su noon-midnight. Restaurant and tavern. Wings, seafood, burgers.
Hotels and motelsEdit
- Gran-View on the River, 6765 State Highway 37, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Quality Inn on 14 acres of St. Lawrence riverfront, 46 rooms with balcony, one four-bedroom cottage. Riverside garden and swimming pool, exercise facility, continental breakfast. Gran-View Restaurant with patio, Marco's Sunset Dining Room, event space. AAA.
- Stonefence Resort, 7191 State Highway 37 (Riverside Drive), ☏ , toll-free: , fax: . Motel, outdoor pool, tennis and fitness facilities, volleyball/basketball courts, game room, boat dock and fishing. AAA.
- Wishing Wells Motel, 1200 New York Ave, ☏ . Eight-room motel.
Bed and breakfastEdit
Ogdensburg's telephone area code is +1 315; its postal code is 13669. A historic post office building at 431 State St. is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Commercial mail receiving service for parcels is available from the UPS Store (2981 Ford Street Ext, +1 315-393-1188) or Roethel's Parcel Service (1801 Ford St, +1 315-393-4770).
- Ogdensburg Public Library, 312 Washington St., ☏ , fax: . Internet (wi-fi and public-use computers), seven-day DVD rental, books and audiobooks.
Small (pop 347) former village opposite Brockville on the St. Lawrence River. The road forks at this point, with NY12 following the river westward through Alexandria Bay and Clayton in the Thousand Islands region while NY37 turns southward toward Watertown.
- Jacques Cartier State Park, Route 12, Morristown, ☏ . Sandy beach, docks for boating and fishing. Cross-country skiing in winter.
Tiny speck of a village centred on NY37 and wedged between the St. Lawrence River (opposite Mallorytown) and the Lonesome Bay State Forest.
- Canada's capital Ottawa-Gatineau. Highway 416 reaches the Trans-Canada Highway in suburban Ottawa in forty-five minutes.
- Thousand Islands and Alexandria Bay, directly up-river. Boldt Castle tours depart Alexandria Bay, Clayton and Wellesley Island.
- Cornwall-Massena, downriver on the St. Lawrence Seaway
- Potsdam, a small university town.
- Watertown and Sackets Harbor
|Routes through Ogdensburg|
|Watertown ← Morristown ←||SW E||→ Massena → Malone|
|Ottawa via ← Prescott ← becomes ← ←||N S||→ Jct S N → Utica via|