The hamlet of Branchport: a ‘crossroads community’

Chris Potter

Branchport lies within the Beddoe Tract of the Phelps and Gorham Purchase. The area immediately north of Branchport was first settled around 1791 by followers of Jemima Wilkinson, a charismatic American evangelist, who called the area "The New Jerusalem".

In 1831, the first store was built at the crossroads, and the community of Branchport (Originally called Esperanza, meaning "hope") grew around this store. In 1867, Branchport became an incorporated village, but has since dissolved the village government, relinquishing its incorporated status.

Branchport became an important port for steamboats which plied the waters of Keuka Lake carrying both passengers and produce from 1835 to 1922. It was also the western terminus of the Penn Yan, Keuka Park and Branchport railway, an 8 1/2 mile electric trolley which provided passenger and freight car service from 1913 to 1928. The line connected with the Northern Central Railroad at Penn Yan.

In the past, Branchport was the seat of small industry including a basket factory, foundry, spoke factory, planing mill, and harness shop. As transportation became more available and industry became concentrated in larger towns, Branchport became largely a residential community, but continues to serve an area of summer lake residents and tourists, as well as farmers who are mainly involved in the growing of grapes.

Courtesy of Wikipedia