During the Revolutionary War, General John Sullivan led his troops through the Chemung Valley against the British and the Iroquois. Marching through the wilderness had exhausted the horses beyond any use to the army, and they were put down in what is now the village. The native tribes in the area started calling that part of the river valley "Valley of the Horse Heads", putting the skulls of the horses along the trail. When settlers started moving farther inland, they saw the skulls, and the name stuck.
The town is home to about 7000 residents today. Being situated almost exactly between it's larger neighbors of Elmira and Corning, it has become a bit of a suburb to both.
For being such a small town, Horseheads has a relatively large amount of industry located there. Unfortunately, most of the industry built it's facilities on a swamp just to the north and east of the town, and has been accused of contaminating the water supply. Despite a drop-off in the 90's, there has been a bit of a recovery lately.
Horseheads also has one of the strangest intersections ever created, right in the main part of the town (Hanover Square). Five streets come together at once; four of them have stop signs, while the fifth has no kind of traffic control to speak of. The streets with the stop signs do not directly connect to one another, making the determination of right-of-way a hair-raising experience. The village had tried to put a traffic light in that intersection some time ago, but it actually caused more accidents, as residents used to the old system were suddenly very confused.
The town is set squarely along the new Interstate 86 corridor, and will require a complete overhaul of the traffic infrastructure over the next ten years. At the moment, the highway has three at-grade intersections that need to be completely removed in order to meet interstate standards. There are houses set right along the road, so elevating or depressing the new expressway will require a lot of land acquisition and a whole lot of cash.
Living there for three years
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