In an attempt to stop the decline of Bainbridge’s the first impression early Bainbridge was giving to the rest of the world, in the days before towns could manage their reputations on social media, one early resident made a bold move to help Bainbridge start on the right foot.
By 1812, the area that eventually became Bainbridge was already on published maps, and people identified with being from this place known then as Jericho: a Biblical name that meant promised land for new inhabitants who had broken through the wilderness, and now called this place home. Jericho had big shoes to fill with a name like that, and, in this case, perhaps the shoes were too big for this upstart village.
Jericho began as a small settlement near where Route 7 and the Guilford Road meet. While that area was Jericho proper, some early inhabitants were settling further away, near the crossroads of state routes 7 and 206. In the new area, a group started building a meetinghouse where the Village Park is located, but the structure was never finished, and in 1813, it was mysteriously destroyed by fire. Shortly afterwards, a Jericho merchant was in the Hudson Valley and was asked where he was from. When he told them Jericho, they exclaimed, “Oh, that wicked place where they burned the church.” Upon his return home, he started proceedings to establish an act of the Legislature to declare a new name for Jericho.
The following year, the Legislature passed the law to change the name on April 15, 1814, that would take effect on June 1: “… from and after the first day of June next, the town of Jericho, in the county of Chenango, shall be […]