A Short History Of The Town Of Verona The first settler in what is presently known as the Town of Verona was George A. Smith. who left the Town of Westmoreland on Christmas Eve 1791. Eight days later he arrived, and settled at the place where Oneida Creek empties into Oneida Lake, in the approximate area of today's Schneible's Restaurant. His daughter, Eve, was the first white child born in the town.
On February 17,1802, the Town of Verona was formally established from a part of the Town of Westmoreland. At that time there were 102 families. A part of the Town of Westmoreland, the hamlet of Verona was then known as Hand's Village named for Captain Ichabod Hand, who had a public house there. No one seems to know how or when the village became known as "Verona"
The Erie Canal dissects the town. Many small communities grew up along its banks, among them Durhamville, State Bridge, Dunbarton, Stark's Landing, Verona Landing, Higginsville, Stacy Basin, Grove Springs and New London. It was in these places that the canallers found general stores, hotels, blacksmith shops, dry docks and other facilities to accommodate their life style. There were glass factories in both Durhamvilie and Dunbarton. A large and well known health spa was located on the present Spring Road in Verona hamlet. It was here that well-to-do clients came for the "water cure". Some for a week or two, others for the entire season. This large hotel burned in 1905.
Family farms, cheese factories, as well as the services provided for canallers, their boats, horses or mules, and as their personal needs accounted for much of the economy in the town.
With the advent of the railroads, the importance of the Erie Canal as a vital part of the settlement of the Midwest, and as a commercial shipping enterprise gradually diminished. Later the Barge Canal replaced the Erie Canal, though it too, has slowly become less used, except for pleasure craft, or an occasional cruise ship.
At the present time, the Town of Verona is basically a bedroom community with citizens of the town finding employment in nearby Rome, Utica, Syracuse and until it closed at Oneida Ltd., in Sherrill. In the late 1960's there where 106 dairy farms in operation and in 2004 only 6 remain as productive dairy farms. All of the others have closed and much of the land sold as building lots or bought by the Oneida Indian Nation.
In 1993 the Oneida Indian Nation erected a large Bingo Hall and Casino on the former Davis farm, adjacent to the New York State Thruway. In 1997 they erected a large hotel, where big name performers are presented on a regular basis. The Oneidas' also operate service stations in Verona and nearby areas, as well as several other enterprises. These business's provide employment for many area people.
The Town of Verona is served by two fine school systems, the Oneida City Schools, as well as the Vernon, Verona and Sherrill School system.
There are active Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and Catholic churches, as well as numerous fraternal and cultural organizations in the town.
The Town is also served by fire departments in several of the hamlets that make up the town.
We invite our neighbors and friends to come and visit our special town in the "Heart of Central New York".
Compiled and written by: Dorothy M. Cmaylo Historian, Town of Verona October 24, 2001