Cooperstown is a village in the county of Otsego in New York state. It is the county seat. Most of the village lies within the town of Otsego, but some of the eastern part is in the town of Middlefield.
Cooperstown is best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. The Farmers’ Museum (Home of the Cardiff Giant ), the Fenimore Art Museum, Glimmerglass Opera, and the New York State Historical Association are also based there. Most of the historic pre-1900 core of the village is included in the Cooperstown Historic District, which was designated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and had its boundaries increased in 1997.
The population of the village was 1,852 at the 2010 census.
Cooperstown may be a tourist destination, but ultimately it is small-town America at its most beautiful. Seventy miles southwest of Albany, NY, and 45 miles southeast of Utica, NY, Cooperstown is a place where people proudly live in well-maintained homes, and close-knit family-oriented neighborhoods –close to Otsego Lake and the toy village-like charm of Main St. From the big but not ostentatious homes on Nelson Ave. and Pine Blvd. to the peaceful tree-lined residential streets like Beaver, Eagle, Delaware and Elm, Cooperstown never overwhelms you. It is not about a honky-tonk, traffic laden, and let’s-see-how-much- we- can- buy mentality. Rather, Cooperstown is an authentic village void of corporate America leanings, fast food chains, and most importantly, stress. You can see the pride of the people, be it a long-time Cooperstown native viewing the pleasing sunrise above the scenic Susquehanna River, or the new residents trading the Big Apple rat race for a walk with the family and an eternal small-town smile to the world.
The Village appears to be Norman Rockwell fully realized, in living color. Three elderly brothers walk the streets in baseball clothing, as close as can be. Little children stare, for extended amounts of time, at the range of baseball memorabilia at stores. Mothers walk their babies down “Main Street USA” and fathers see their boyhood baseball heroes through the windows of their souls–first their eyes, then beyond the glass displays in The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Romance indeed lives, not in a Shakespearian sense, but in “It’s a Wonderful Life” way–small town America coming together. Perhaps James Fenimore Cooper said it best in 1837, about his beloved surroundings: “Lying, as it does, off the great routes, the village of Cooperstown is less known than it deserves to be. Few persons visit it, without acknowledging the beauties of its natural scenery, and the general neatness and decency of the place itself. … Everything shows a direction towards … an improving civilization.”
The village was part of the Cooper Patent, which Judge William Cooper purchased in 1785 from Colonel George Croghan. The land amounted to 10,000 acres (40 km2). Cooper was the father of noted American author James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Leatherstocking Tales, a series of novels which includes The Last of the Mohicans. Contrary to popular belief, the village was named after Judge Cooper, and not his son.
The village of Cooperstown was established in 1786, laid out by surveyor William Ellison. At the time, the area was part of Montgomery County. It was incorporated as the “Village of Otsego” on April 3, 1807. The name was changed to “Village of Cooperstown” in 1812. Cooperstown is one of only twelve villages in New York still incorporated under a charter, the other villages having incorporated or re-incorporated under the provisions of Village Law.