Village of Arkport Historical Society

Arkport Historical Society

Join Arkport (Canisteo Valley) Historical Society! Only $10 per year per person. ($15 per couple!) For more information, see or email Or Drop a Check in the Mail made out to: Canisteo Valley Historical Society; PO Box 123; Arkport, NY 14807

Make sure to include your full name, address and phone number along with your email address if you have one!

2024 Meetings

There will be a business meeting of the CVHS on Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at the Arkport Village Hall Community Room, 1pm. The circumstances involved in securing 501(c)3 status have moved along very well, and therefore the “site” committee is prepared to give a report about a potential home for our Society. Please attend to be informed of the latest developments. We hope to see you there. Larry Jones, interim President

Upcoming Events

The Canisteo Valley Historical Society and the Arkport Public Library present a Spring special program: “Exploring the Canisteo River

Canisteo River
Canisteo River
Wednesday May 22, 2024 – 4 p.m.

A power-point presentation by John and Sue Babbitt, well-known Steuben County historians, will highlight the river’s rich history beginning with the Native Americans and pioneer families. Provisions and trade were part of the river’s navigation history. The headwaters will be discussed.

Arkport Public Library, 2 East Avenue free to the public, refreshments served.



Brief History of Arkport

Founded in 1797 by Christopher Hurlbut, Arkport began as a thriving agricultural center. Each spring when the waters were high, area farmers shipped crops, livestock, potash, timber and other items down the Canisteo River to Baltimore on “arks” built of local tall pine trees and other lumber. At the time the Canisteo River flowed from the hills of Bishopville down to the valley just north of Arkport and through the village where the current Marsh Ditch now flows. The arks were loaded behind the current houses on State Route 36 in fields called the ark yards. This practice continued for several years until the time (around 1825) the Erie Canal was built and it became more cost effective to ship goods via the canal. Hence the name Christopher Hurlbut gave his little town: “Ark-Port”!

Soon after, the railroad was built and began service around 1851. The river bed of the Canisteo River was moved to its present site along the western hill. The first railroads were independent companies; The Attica & Hornellsville followed by the Buffalo & Corning which later became a part of the great “Erie”, a name synonymous with railroaders for the next century.

In the later half of the 19th Century, farmers began draining the swampy marsh just north of the village and converted it to extremely fertile muck land. These several hundred acres of rich farm land brought many many families to the area of who’s decedents still call Arkport home.

The village was incorporated around 1913 and has experienced many changes over the years. Many of the names of families have remained in Arkport over the years, a testimony of people choosing to live the good life of small town living in rural America. Current population (as of the 2000 census) stands at 832 living in approximately 350 homes.

P.O. Box 123, Arkport, New York 14807