It is the seat of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station and of Hobart College (nonsectarian), which was first planned in 1812, was founded in 1822 (the majority of its incorporators being members of the Protestant Episcopal church) as successor to Geneva Academy, received a full charter as Geneva College in 1825, and was renamed Hobart Free College in 1852 and Hobart College in 1860, in honour of Bishop John Henry Hobart.
The incorporators included James Madison, Patrick Henry (who is believed to have drafted the college charter), Paul Carrington, William Cabell, Sen., and Nathaniel Venable.
The prominence of the township as a manufacturing centre is due to Erastus Brigham Bigelow (1814-1879), one of the incorporators of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who devised power-looms for the weaving of a variety of figured fabrics, - coach-lace, counterpanes, ginghams, silkbrocatel, tapestry carpeting, ingrain and Brussels carpets, - and revolutionized their manufacture.
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