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Jackson, New York

Jackson is known for many things - its covered bridges, the L'Ensemble, its rolling hills with plentiful deer and wild turkeys, its clear lakes and related recreation and its scenic roads. But perhaps more than anything else, Jackson New York is known as a good place to live.

Old Farm House
In the early 1800s when Cambridge was thought to be too large, a piece of it - resembling somewhat an old-fashioned teakettle in shape - was sliced off. The new area was named in 1815 in honor of Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans fought the year before. Some citizens sought to name the new town Ondawa, the beautiful Indian name for the winding river we know as the Battenkill which borders much of the township. The hero worshippers prevailed, however, and Jackson it became.

Jackson New York is unique in Washington County in that it has no villages within its borders. Unique also is a musical group that hails from Jackson named L'Ensemble. The group performs concerts of chamber music in cities and towns from New York City in winter to Upstate New York in summer.

Covered Bridge in Jackson New York, crossing the Battenkill River
Three of the five area covered bridges spanning the Battenkill River rest one end in Jackson, making the town noted for these picturesque structures of an age gone by. The three covered bridges remain and are flourishing due to some concerned citizens who have helped the landmarks survive through the years. The span at Eagleville dropped one end into the Battenkill some years ago, but has since been raised and repositioned to carry traffic in both directions as in the past. The Rexleigh covered bridge was undermined by insects and rotting timbers, but its proposed demolition was prevented by the dedicated membership of the Rexleigh Covered Bridge Association. Thanks to the Association's hard work, the bridge will once again carry traffic.

The Shushan Covered Bridge, 160-feet long, was constructed in 1858 and served as a roadway until 1962 when it was bypassed in favor of a modern steel structure. Demolition was proposed but concerted and prolonged efforts by interested citizens (who later formed the Shushan Covered Bridge Association) prevailed and the Jackson end of the bridge was swung to a new abutment.

In due time and after major repairs, the structure became the Shushan Covered Bridge Museum - chartered by the New York State Regents as a non-profit, educational project. Present and former area residents enthusiastically loaned antique family tools, farm machinery and household utensils, and during the first summer of the museum's existence (1975), about 900 visitors from 26 states and six foreign countries walked through the exhibits and signed the register. The number of visitors grows annually.

Huge pieces of antique farm machinery, owned by the museum but too bulky for display, are brought out each August on Jackson's Harvest Day celebration. They are operated to gather crops raised on the site for demonstration. Harvest Day annually attracts not only an increasing number of summervisitors, it also attracts retired farmers who seem to renew their youth by taking a turn at operating the ancient machines.

In addition to its beautiful covered bridges, Jackson roasts five lakes, two campgrounds, two

Old Home in Jackson
fine restaurants, one motel, three summer cottage areas and three pavilions for large gatherings - resulting in its distinction as an outstanding recreation area. Jackson's chain of five lakes -Lauderdale, Schoolhouse Pond, Dead Pond, Hedges Lake and Clark's Pond -are bordered by cottages and picnic areas, with a large pavilion nearby that is available for dances, roller skating, religious services and summer classes. The town's camping areas, restaurants, and motel are also close to the lakes.

Not many industries have survived through the years in Jackson. One Jackson enterprise still is thriving, however. The Cambridge Valley Livestock Market on Route 22.

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