Here are some quick facts about Cayuga County:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHarriet Tubman, who rescued more than 300 slaves from the south on the Underground Railroad, lived the last years of her life in Auburn and is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery.

Millard Fillmore, 13th president of the United States, was born in Summerhill. Contrary to popular belief, Fillmore did not install the first bathtub in the White House.

William Seward served as New York governor, US senator and Abraham Lincoln’s secretary of state. Known as an abolitionist, friend to Harriet Tubman and architect of the Alaska Purchase, Seward is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery.

Auburn is the birthplace of sound on film. Theodore Case invented the process at his Genesee Street laboratory. The lab is open to the public as part of the Cayuga Museum.

Auburn Correctional Facility (formerly Auburn Prison) is one of the oldest functioning prisons in the United States. Home of the first electric chair, the prison is also known for the “Auburn System,” in which prisoners were housed in solitary confinement and made to do penal labor in strict silence.

The Willard Memorial Chapel in Auburn is the only surviving complete installation by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the world.

Cayuga County has the most waterfront land of any landlocked county in the state, with frontage on Cayuga Lake, Owasco Lake, Skaneateles Lake and Lake Ontario.

Auburn is home to heavy metal act Manowar, which holds the Guinness world record for loudest band in the world. The category has since been retired.


Other notables from Cayuga County:

  • Annie Taylor, the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel, was born in Auburn
  • Willard Bundy, inventor of the first time clock
  • Jerome “Brud” Holland, first black board member of the American Stock Exchange and ambassador to Sweden
  • Birdsill Holly, supposed inventor of the fire hydrant
  • Sereno Payne, the nation’s first House Majority Leader
  • Theodore Pomeroy, Speaker of the House
  • Robert F. Stryker, Medal of Honor recipient
  • John Walsh, host of America’s Most Wanted