- Southern Tier
The Southern Tier is a geographical term that refers to the counties of
New York Statewest of the Catskill Mountainsalong the northern border of Pennsylvania. It is a loosely defined term that generally includes the counties on that border Pennsylvaniawest of Delaware County inclusive.
The region is bordered to the south by the Northern Tier of
Pennsylvania, and together these regions are known as the Twin Tiers.
The counties (and major cities and towns) generally included in the Southern Tier are::
Also occasionally included in the "Southern Tier" designation less frequently are Schuyler County, Chautauqua County (primarily the region in the
Conewango Creekwatershed, other areas are part of the Niagara Frontier), Yates County, Cortland County, Tompkins County, and (far more rarely) Schoharie County, Chenango County, and Otsego County.
The actual definition varies significantly. The Encyclopedia of New York State [cite book|title=The Encyclopedia of New York State|chapter=S: Southern Tier|pages=1437|isbn=0-8156-0808|date=2005|publisher=Syracuse University Press|editor=Eisenstadt, Peter] lists only Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and Steuben Counties as part of the Southern Tier, with anything east of that being considered
Central New York. Other definitions define it as the Elmira, NY MSA, the Corning, NY μSAand the Binghamton, NY MSA, which includes Steuben, Chemung, Tioga and Broome Counties but not Chautauqua, Cattaraugus or Allegany, which are considered Western New York.
Much of the Southern Tier, except for Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, is in
area code 607. The westernmost portion of the Southern Tier is also located in New York's 29th congressional districtas of 2007.
The Southern Tier is generally hilly without being mountainous. Both the Delaware and Susquehanna rivers flow through the Southern Tier in their upper reaches, as does the
Allegheny Riverin the western Southern Tier.
The Southern Tier makes up the northernmost portion of
Appalachiaand lies on the Allegheny Plateau.
The Southern Tier has long been home to the people of the
Iroquois Confederation.There were major settlements along the Allegheny River in Cattaraugus County, at Painted Postin Steuben County, at what is today the northeast side of Corning, New York, near Horseheadsin Chemung County and along the Susquehanna River.The Seneca Nationhas homelands today along the Allegheny River and a headquarters at Salamanca. There is also Indian lands on Cuba Lakein Allegany County.
The region was quickly settled by whites after the Revolutionary War, when settlers were again allowed west of the Appalachian divide. The Southern Tier shared in the economic growth of the early 19th century, but its hilly terrain made it less suitable to canal-building and, later, railroading, than the historic corridor to the north between Albany and Buffalo. Even so, it was more prosperous than the desolate northern tier of Pennsylvania.
Railroads did arrive and the
Erie Linethat followed the water-level of the Allegheny, Susquehanna and Delaware watersheds brought industrial progress to the region about the time of the American Civil War. The railroad and available fuel from the region's dense forests attracted Corning Glass Works to Steuben County in 1868.
The region became home to prosperous farms and small factory towns (with the exception of larger Binghamton) during the first half of the 20th century. But declines in U.S. manufacturing hit the region hard and it suffered even more than other parts of upstate
New Yorkand northern Pennsylvania.
The region's addition to the
Appalachian Regional Commission, often credited to the influence of U.S. Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, provided economic stimulus over the last 40 years. Government funds built the Southern Tier Expressway, highway links to the New York State Thruway, encouraged the growth of state colleges at Wellsville, Alfred and Binghamton and sought with mixed success to attract business interests relocating from the New York Metropolitan Areaand urban Western New York.
For two decades, the region has tried to remake itself as a tourist destination and relocation area for retirees from big Northeastern cities. Meanwhile, agriculture and manufacturing struggle to compete regionally and globally.
The largest city in the region is Binghamton, where
Binghamton University(the State University of New York-Binghamton), one of the SUNYsystem's four University Centers, is located.
Southern Tier Expressway- Interstate 86 and New York State Route 17- serves the Southern Tier. The highway is the region's major corridor and connects to U.S. Route 219in Salamanca, U.S. Route 15in Corning, and Interstate 81and 88 in Binghamton. Greater Binghamton Airportis the largest airport in the area and has flights to Detroit,Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. Elmira-Corning Regional Airportalso serves the area with flights to DC and areas in Connecticut. Bus service is provided along the entire I-86/NY 17 corridor by Coach USA's Shortline/Erie services from Jamestown to New York City, and Trailwaysconnects the Southern Tier with Buffalo (at the western end in Salamanca), Sunbury/Lock Haven (at Elmira), and Syracuse, Albany and Harrisburg (at Binghamton). Amtrakdoes not serve the area.
Government services are the largest employer in the area. Of second and declining importance is manufacturing. The region's manufacturing economy has suffered for decades, but factories are found in the region's larger communities. Fortune 500 materials maker
Corning Inc.is headquartered in Steuben County. In addition to glass products, other factories in the region make televisions, furniture, metal forgings and machine tools. Agricultureis also a major part of the economy. Leading products are dairy, vegetables orchard fruit and wine grapes.The area includes the northern extent of the Pennsylvania oil field and natural gas, crude oil and oil sands continue to be extracted from Southern Tier wells as they have for over a century. [Ross, Kathryn. [http://www.wellsvilledaily.com/homepage/x346306984 There’s still oil in them thar hills] . Wellsville Daily Reporter. 12 February 2008.] [Fanelli, Patrick. [http://www.post-journal.com/page/content.detail/id/504944.html?nav=5018 Untapped Resource: Boom Expected Around Region] . Jamestown Post-Journal. 26 June 2008.]
The western and northern edges of the Southern Tier are known as
ski country, and the hilly terrain (that forms a continental divide) is notorious for frequent and heavy lake effect snow. As a result, Ellicottville has become a "ski town" with both the Holimontand Holiday Valleyresorts in the vicinity; the two resorts draw numerous tourists, particularly from Canada, from which U.S. Route 219provides easy access.
Northern Tier (Pennsylvania)
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