REMEMBERING SAMPSON: It’s been 75 years since the Navy built its training station on the shores of Seneca Lake

No one can say Seneca County didn’t do its fair share for America during World War II and the Korean War.

In 1941, the federal government bought out hundreds of farms, homes and businesses in Varick and Romulus to create the 10,700-acre Seneca Army Depot. Hundreds were displaced, forced to move after being required to accept the government’s payment for their land.

A year later, it happened again. This time, the Navy came calling. It purchased 2,535 acres on the east shore of Seneca Lake in Romulus to establish the Sampson Naval Training Station, using the deep waters of the lake for training. Once again, people who owned small farms, businesses, homes, vineyards and cottages had to sell and move out.

The military announced construction of the training station on May 13, 1942, and it was completed in 270 days at a cost of just over $56 million. Over the next few years, hundreds of thousands of sailors would be trained there.

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