Final Project Portfolio: RyanK

Final Submission

(Some of these maps appear to take a while to load, but they do load normally. I hope all of you enjoy the visuals, and can gain something from the research I conducted. The final argument was not as tight as I would have hoped, but I believe that I have found some very interesting pieces of information. If you find this topic interesting, thank you, and I encourage you to take a look at the links I provide below in my Works Cited section. They will take you to the historical websites for the the certain N.Y. counties I will be discussing in this essay. I had a lot of fun doing this project, and I had a wonderful semester. I hope all of you have a great summer. – Ryan.)

When looking at the count of historic sites per state, we can see that New York has the highest number of sites that are registered across the country. For that reason, as well as the fact that looking at the entire country is too broad of a scale to cover the specific topics at hand, New York will be the focus of the argument. When looking at the historic site count for New York (maps in green), it can be seen that New York City has the highest number of historic sites. It has such a lead over all of the other counties that if we were to filter out New York, New York, the range of values, as well as the appearance of the map changes dramatically. But once the variable, that is, the population of each county is added to the visual, (maps in blue,) the information changes dramatically. No longer is New York, New York the highest-ranking NY county. In terms of site density, New York, New York actually has a very low concentration. The highly concentrated counties are found in locations one might not expect.

            There are three New York counties that have an irregularly high concentration of historic sites: Hamilton County, Essex County, and Yates County. Hamilton County has the highest concentration value of about sixty-one, but contains the lowest population of any county in New York State, with less than 5,000 yearly residents. It is important to note that the Hamilton County Historian’s webpage claims that Hamilton County is “the most rural county east of the Mississippi River.” (Hamilton County Historian Essex County and Yates County have significantly higher populations, and somewhat lower concentrations of historic sites. Despite this, they are still irregularly high for counties of their scale. The question at hand is why that is the case.

            Before the argument is made, some background information about these counties should be discussed. The demographics of each of these counties are very similar. They each have a majority white population, (93%-97%,) each county has an even ratio between male and female, and a median household income of around $56,000-$57,000. They are spread across the upper half of New York State, and have varying amounts of historic sites, Essex having the most, and Hamilton having the least of the three. Finally, none of these counties possess any cities comparable to say, Buffalo or Albany. With that being said, we can come up with a clear enough image of each of these counties. As far as upstate N.Y. counties go, they’re pretty average. Ultimately, each county has its own answer as to why it has such a high concentration. There are outside variables at play that cause these three counties in particular to place such a focus on the Register. If there was not, then the historic site density would be homogenous across the map.

            Hamilton County, having the highest density will be discussed first. It is also the easiest one to explain. As mentioned previously, Hamilton County is the least populated county across all of New York. With that in mind, it could be said that Hamilton County has such a high historic site density simply because of its small population. Considering it has only twenty-one registered historic sites to its name, that would be hard to argue with. But there is one factor that the Tableau visual fails to mention. Hamilton County receives a substantial amount of tourism. It seems that Hamilton County has become popular for its rural character. Being dubbed the most rural county east of the Mississippi lends itself to many vacation and sight-seeing opportunities, and attracting many people who live in New York cities, eager for a change of pace. Furthermore, Hamilton County has a population of less than 5,000 in total. That includes the people who are not historically minded. The fact that there are twenty-one registered sites at all is rather impressive, considering that there are counties that have higher populations and less registered historical sites.

            Yates County will be the second county that will be discussed. Yates County holds significantly more historic sites than Hamilton County, and a higher population as well. Upon further research, we can see that most of the historic sites in Yates County are historic houses or historic churches, (usually Methodist.) It is an important point to note that the diversity of sites in Yates County is so narrow. But there is a very clear and fascinating reason as to why that is. Yates County is one of the capital homes of a religious movement known as the Public Universal Friend. This religion was founded by Jemima Wilkinson, and she initially gathered a following around Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Eventually, her followers made their way to mainland New York, and founded “what was by 1790 the largest settlement in western New York.” (Historian, Yates County, New York, Yates County became the home to the Public Universal Friends’ largest religious settlement dubbed, New Jerusalem. This religious influence is what caused this concentration of historic churches. As far as the historic houses go, in many cases, historic houses are placed on the Register due to their architectural significance. It can be argued that Yates County places a lot of focus on studying architecture.

            Essex County is the last county that will be discussed. Essex County has the highest population of the three counties, and the highest historic site count. It also has a high variety of different sites. Essex County is home to historic farms, houses, libraries, schools, industrial, religious, and public buildings. One site in particular that is very interesting is the John Brown Farm and Gravesite, as it is the final resting place of famous abolitionist, John Brown. Another site, which was added recently in January 2020, is Asgaard Farm. It’s interesting because its name is Asgaard which sounds like Asgard. Anyways, the point is, is that there is enough diversity in terms of historic site types to attract a lot of tourism. But there is a reason why people who live in the county wanted all those historic sites to be registered in the first place. As it turns out, Essex County is very diverse in terms of professions, from mining, agriculture, manufacturing, law, government, and tourism according to the Adirondack History Museum, ( A diverse range of occupations carry a diverse history.

            Ultimately, circumstances play a significant role as to why these three counties are so well-established on the National Register. There is not one answer as to why that is the case. In reality, it depends upon the whims of the people in each of their respective counties. Population count does influence their historic site density to an extent, especially in Hamilton County considering the low population. But there are other factors that play into their presence on the Register. The visuals presented as well as the context information that was given here show what those factors are.

Works Cited

            Adirondack History Museum

            Hamilton County Historian

            Historian, Yates County, New York,