Madrid, N.Y., a small rural town in northern New York, was one of the first four towns officially recognized upon the formation of St. Lawrence County in 1802. While named for the capital of Spain, the local pronunciation of Madrid is on the first syllable (Mad’-rid). Originally, the town of Madrid included all of the territory that now comprises both the towns of Madrid and neighboring Waddington to the north, until divided in 1859. Agriculture has been, and still remains, the primary industry and livelihood in Madrid.
Near the geographic center of the town, alongside the quiet rambling of the picturesque Grasse River, is the hamlet of Madrid, the town’s only business center. Originally known as Roberts’ Mills, then Grasse River Falls and Columbia Village, the name Madrid was finally decreed in 1826.
During the War of 1812 there was great fear and excitement among the residents of Madrid and St. Lawrence County in general, due to the close proximity of British soldiers just across the St. Lawrence River and the lack of military protection. Madrid was one of the few towns to develop a militia for protection. by Bob LaRue.