The Taking of Cannonsville, Delaware County


The Taking of Cannonsville, Delaware County, NYCannonsville was a community in Delaware County, NY founded in the late 18th century by Benjamin Cannon. He built the town’s first house and was its first Postmaster. Cannonsville was removed in 1964 by eminent domain along with other communities to create the Cannonsville Reservoir, which is part of the Delaware Water Supply System providing water to New York City.

Not a tree was left standing. Every house, barn, business, church and school that remained was demolished or burned to the ground. At night fires glowed eerily throughout the smoke-filled valley. During the day bulldozers finished off whatever stone walls, chimneys and smoldering timbers remained. Trucks hauled away human remains disinterred from cemeteries and family graveyards.

This is the story of Cannonsville – the Community, the Taking and the Reservoir.

Cannonsville Before Destruction for the Cannonsville ReservoirConstruction on the Cannonsville Reservoir in the towns of Tompkins and Deposit began in 1955 and was completed in 1967. New York City claimed 19,910 acres for the Cannonsville Reservoir and displaced almost 1,000 residents from the communities of Beerston, Cannonsville, Granton, Rock Rift and Rock Royal. Eleven cemeteries with 2,150 graves were relocated.

The Taking of Cannonsville, a virtual program by Broome County Historian Roger Luther, will be held on Sunday January 28th at 2 pm EST, sponsored by the Time and the Valleys Museum in Sullivan County. Admission to this virtual only program is free for Museum Members and $5 for non-members.

To join the program, register by email at and put Cannonsville Talk Link in the subject line, or call (845) 985-7700. A link will be sent.

Non-members will be asked to first make a donation on the Museum’s website. For more information on the program, email

Roger Luther is the Broome County Historian and Executive Director of the Preservation Association of the Southern Tier. He has authored and co-authored several books and articles on Broome County history. Although Cannonsville is located just a few miles outside of Broome County, he was captivated by the story and has researched and photographed it for several years.

Connecting Water People and the Catskills, the Time and the Valleys Museum is open Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 pm, from Memorial Day through September and from October to May by appointment and during programs. Located at 332 Main Street in Grahamsville (State Route 55), in Sullivan County, admission for adults is a suggested donation of $5, children under 16 $2, and children under six are free.

Photo below: Cannonsville in the 1950s, before the community was destroyed for the Cannonsville Reservoir.

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