Brighton is a town in Franklin County, New York, United States. In 1858, Town of Brighton was was formed off the Town of Duane. Brighton was home to three summer resort hotels, in McColloms, Rainbow Lake and Paul Smiths, four churches and a chapel, two railroad stations, four post offices, three schools, three cemeteries, a ‘paved’ road and a new TB sanatorium, the “San” at Gabriels, built almost single-handedly by the determined and capable Sister Mary of Perpetual Help Kiernan of the Sisters of Mercy. There was a power plant on the St. Regis River, telegraph and telephone service were available and a number of camps had been built around the larger lakes within the town. The population was recorded at 500 in 1890. By 1915 there were 741 people in Brighton.
Much has changed since the beginning of the twentieth century. The hotels at Rainbow Lake and McColloms are gone. Paul Smith’s, in accordance with the will of Phelps Smith, is now a college. The Gabriels San also known as Camp Gabriels, a minimum security correctional facility, was closed in 2009 by the Department of Corrections. It has been unused, vacant and deteriorating since 2009. Brighton still has two churches and a chapel although they are not the same ones that were here in 1900. Both railroad stations and one post office have closed and as a result of centralization there are no longer any schools in Brighton. There are, however, at least three families who are homeschoolers. The population was 1,435 at the 2010 census. It was named after Brighton, England, by early surveyors in the region. Our history is the history of the communities “Gabriels, McColloms, Paul Smiths or Rainbow Lake.” Yhe people who settled them and whose descendants are still here.
The town of Brighton is in the southern part of the county and is inside the Adirondack Park. Paul Smith’s College is in the community of Paul Smiths, a hamlet of Brighton.