Dresden's History


Dresden was founded by two Geneva speculators, Harman Bogert and Samuel Colt. Together, they purchased 800 acres in 1811. They then retained surveyor Valentine Brother, who laid out a rectangular street plan with three public squares. One square is still visible as a grassy open area on all four sides of an intersection southeast of this house. Dresden was the only planned community in Yates County.

Dresden’s founders vied to have their town declared the county seat, but Penn Yan seized the honor in 1823.

Dresden was a center for agricultual trade, milling, and boatbuilding. In 1855 it had a population of 365 people. The railroad arrived in 1876.

By 1900, Dresden had become a railroad town, with a resident crew, grain elevators and warehouses clustered near the depot. Brakemen, engineers, section hands and other rail workers lived here.

The Local History room contains highlights of former village hsitorian Ray Welker’s extensive local history collection, which is now housed in the Museum.