A tale of two villages of Camillus: The first village of Camillus, circa 1960s

With 1,200 residents, Camillus was a bustling, relatively self-sufficient village serving as the population, business, social and manufacturing canter of the town.

The village was situated on New York State Route Five, serving as a major east-west corridor for traffic. The stream of traffic passing through the village each day added to its dynamism.

The Camillus Cutlery, which at times had employed as many as several hundred individuals, provided a unique branding for the village of Camillus.

Local residents from outside the village also were drawn to the village by a combination of retail and governmental entities. The governmental entities included the elementary school, the post-office, the town’s offices, a volunteer fire department and the public library.

Other retail businesses acted as magnets attracting local residents to the village. Two grocery stores, three restaurants, two gas stations a barber shop, law offices, a doctor’s office, a dental facility and three robust churches serving local congregations added to the attractiveness of the village atmosphere.

The business of managing the village fell to a part-time mayor and village board. The actual employees included a part-time treasurer and clerk, whose office was in her home and a two-person highway staff. A very part-time policeman working an hourly rate completed the staffing. Fringe benefits were quite limited.

The village was considered financially stable as it operated on a budget based upon a combination of property taxes, county sales tax revenue, state aid and a utility tax.

Second village of Camillus, circa 2011.

While much has changed over the years, the population has remained approximately the same. The 2010 federal census shows a population of 1,250.

However, gone are many of the so-called magnets which used to draw people into the village. The post-office, the school, the town government offices, and many of the former retail establishments, along with the cutlery, are long gone.

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