The village was founded in 1786 by William Cooper on the southern shore of Otsego Lake, also known as Lake Glimmerglass. William was the father of novelist James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851), who set some of his epics in this region. By the late 19th century, word about the village and its beautiful lake spread, as New York's wealthy began building vacation homes upstate. The community is full of civic structures and residences from this period—many of them stately, most of them well preserved. Indeed, many of Cooperstown's accommodations are run by highly dedicated innkeepers in refurbished historic mansions hundreds of years old, and are a big draw for visitors. All told, a third of a million people visit the village annually.
When thinking of Cooperstown, you can't help but think of the national pastime. Home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum as well as a beautiful baseball diamond, the village draws fans of the game who feel they need to make the pilgrimage at least once in their lives. Both sites, as well as several shops and restaurants, are along a four-block stretch of Main Street, roughly between Chestnut and Fair streets.