About Elmira

About the City of Elmira, NY | A Great Place to Live and Work

Nestled in the Southern Finger Lakes, in Mark Twain Country, the Elmira area offers its students and families’ convenient living in a beautiful setting as well as a variety of cultural and recreational activities.

Art and Culture

Among the cultural attractions enjoyed by area residents are the Clemens Center for the Performing Arts, Arnot Art Museum, Corning Museum of Glass, Chemung County Historical Museum, The Center for Mark Twain Studies, The Rockwell Museum, Sullivan's Monument and Living History Center, the Wings of Eagles Discovery Center and the National Soaring Museum.

Located at the gateway of New York's scenic Finger Lakes Region, residents and tourists alike enjoy swimming, boating, fishing, camping, hunting, skiing and sight-seeing, including the spectacular fall foliage. Within an hour's drive are Watkins Glen, with its famous gorge and International Raceway; the Finger Lakes (handprint of the "Great Spirit," according to Native American folklore); Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon and many of New York State's award-winning wineries.

Economic Development, Major Employers and Higher Education

Chemung County is home to major employers such as Hardinge Inc., Kennedy Valve and Arnot Ogden Medical Center. Corning Inc. and Dresser Rand are based in neighboring Corning.

Elmira College, located in the heart of the city, is one of the top private colleges in the Northeast. The Clemens Center is a performance arts venue that hosts musicals, plays, concerts, and more.

Opportunities for advanced education are abundant and include Elmira College, Cornell University, Ithaca College, Binghamton University, Mansfield University and Corning Community College.

Hometown Sports

Elmira is the home of the Elmira River Sharks professional minor-league hockey team and the Pioneers collegiate summer baseball team. The River Sharks play home games at First Arena in downtown Elmira, which also hosts concerts, performances and expositions.

Local History | International Esteem

Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) wrote many of his finest works during summers spent in Elmira, the home of his wife Olivia. Twain is buried in Elmira's Woodlawn Cemetery, as are many of our other famous sons and daughters, plus veterans of every war since the Revolution including the only Confederate remains north of the Mason-Dixon line.

The Near Westside Neighborhood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a showcase of Victorian architecture. A major Civil War prison camp was located here.

General Sullivan's Revolutionary forces scored a decisive victory in the Battle of Newtown on the hills overlooking the Chemung River, which flows through the heart of the city.

Where is Elmira, NY?

Elmira is within easy driving distance of all major northeast cities:  Philadelphia (214 mi.), New York City (227 mi.), Toronto (245 mi.), Pittsburgh (265 mi.), Washington, D.C. (272 mi.), and Cleveland (301 mi.). A full-service airport is a 15-minute drive from most points in the county and offers daily service to major East Coast hubs.


1859 - First school board
1862 - Elmira Free Academy opened - provided free education to anyone who desired.
1957 - Elmira City School District consolidated 29 school districts (including Ashland, Baldwin, Southport, and Town of Elmira) and ended the era of one-room school houses
1960 - Construction began on the new Elmira Free Academy building on Hoffman Street to replace the old one on Lake Street
1961 - Elmira football hero Ernie Davis became the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy.
1961 - Broadway and Pine City Elementary Schools opened
1964 - Elmira celebrated its 100th anniversary as a city. Elmira Free Academy's class of 1965 began at the brand new building on Hoffman Street
1972 - Tropical Storm Agnes brought Elmira's worst flood to date - June 23 - after 8 inches of rain
1980 - New Southside High School opened
1991 - Eldridge Park rollercoaster torn down
1999 - Elmira's Eileen Collins was NASA's first female space shuttle commander
2000 - (Coach) First Arena in Elmira opened. Who let the dogs out?
2008 - The Express film about Ernie Davis opened in October to good reviews
2011 - The two high school football teams Green Hornets and Blue Devils were abruptly combined into one "The Elmira Express" ending the annual Erie Bell game.
2014 – Community Schools Initiative began
2018 – Thomas K. Beecher Elementary School celebrates its 180th year
2022 -- Elmira High School opened a brand-new multi-purpose turf stadium on September 20, 2022. The new athletic complex includes an artificial turf field, a new press box, home side concessions, restrooms, track replacement, new bleachers, scoreboard, and sound system. The complex name will be rededicated to Thomas J. Hurley, longtime popular football and wrestling coach during the opening celebration. The field is dedicated to Dick Senko.