Town of Candor History


Carol A. Henry, Town/Village Historian

Settled in 1794, the Town of Candor was separated from Spencer in 1811, and the Village was incorporated in 1900. Today it is a town containing 5,500 residents, 869 of which live in the Village. Historically, Candor has been a prosperous and creative community, but in the 1950s and 1960s was noted as a “bedroom community” as most of the inhabitants travel toward Ithaca or Owego to find employment.

Over the years Candor has enjoyed many small to medium businesses and industries that have taken their place in history besides dairy farming, a major trade even today. In the late 1800s the Candor Woolen Mills manufactured 30,000 yards of cloth per annum, and employed approximately 10 people; Sackett’s Flowering Mills produced 300 bushels of wheat per day; and the Humbolt Tannery employed up to 30 workers and manufactured 40,000 sides of leather per annum. S. Horton and Co. manufactured stoves and agricultural machinery in the 1850s; Mr. Barager employed 50 hands and turned out 50,000 horse blankets a year at his Horse Blanket Factory; and in 1886 White’s Chair Factory in Willseyville, which was a three-story building, had 30 employees and manufactured 30,000 chairs and 10,000 tables a year.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s the railroads made it easy for Candor to compete in the world market. The Candor Glove Factory became world renown for their manufacture of gloves which were sold all over the world. Although this was Candor’s largest manufacturing company for many years, the 1900s also saw smaller companies emerge in the latter part of the century. Although the railroads left town in the late 1950s, several manufacturing companies found ways of producing products in the area. Acme Tech Smith, Inc. manufactured carbide tipped and stemmed boring tools from 1974-1985; Lipka sold imported farm equipment and manufactured poultry cages during the height of the poultry reign in the area; Omni ElctroMotive, Inc. manufactured steam and gas turbine blades and vanes; Ward and VanScoy manufactured feed in the area for many years; Vernonscope has and still is a major business; Yeier’s sold and repaired sewing machines; and the Owego Contracting Plant has been manufacturing pallets and operating as a sawmill since the 1980s.

Today, there are over 100 small to mid-size businesses with many employing anywhere from 3 to 40 local residents. And, there are many other varied businesses and events that “draw” people to Candor, now. For instance, Candor’s four-day celebration of the 4th of July, and the Fall Festival with over 30 individual events scattered around town during a three-day period are major events that bring over 2000 people from far and wide to visit Candor. A Rare Day In June, the annual National Wild Turkey Celebrity Hunt, Canducky Derby, the Catatonk Canoe Regatta, and the annual Breakfast with Santa in December are a few of the more popular events held in Candor. These are only a handful of the many aspects of Candor.

Besides a well established school system, the Candor community is comprised of many historic churches and organizations that remain strong today. Besides a grocery store, eating establishments and other prominent businesses, Candor has a first class post office, volunteer ambulance service, and fire department, as well as a health facility, dental care center, and animal care facility. In many respects, Candor is open to change while maintaining a secluded atmosphere that makes it a nice community in which to raise a family. It is a town with many community groups operating on the premise of helping make the community a better place to live, as well as helping others when the need arises. Candor is more than a town or village along a creek on its way to or from someplace. Candor is a caring, artistic, creative, hardworking group of people who bring out the best of what Candor has to offer to those who live here, stop to visit, or pass through.

The Candor Historical Society was started in 1996, and is growing strong. They are currently renovating the old Catatonk Community Club, hold a talk series annually, and is in the process of conducting oral histories. Their meetings are held the last Wednesday of each month (with a few exceptions) and are held at the Candor Town Hall on Rt. 96, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Candor Historian can be reached at:



110 Front Street, Owego, NY 13827                                  Phone: 607-687-2460                                Email: