Major efforts at settlement began with the Queensbury Patent in 1762, which enticed Quaker settlers to move into the area known as the "Township of Queensbury" the next year. The Quakers left during the Revolutionary War and returned in 1783 when hostilities ended in the area.
In 1786, the town was re-established as the town of Queensbury. In 1788, the town included all of what is today Warren County. It lost territory in 1792 when the town of Fairfield (Lake Luzerne) was formed and again in 1810 to form part of the town of Caldwell (Lake George). In 1908, the then largest village within Queensbury, Glens Falls, incorporated as a city and became a separate municipality. The population of Queensbury has exceeded that of Glens Falls since the 1980 Census.
In 2003, with permission from Queensbury, Glens Falls annexed approximately 49 acres (0.20 km2) of the town. The land, known as Veterans Field or the Northway Industrial Park, is on Veterans Road between Luzerne Road and Sherman Avenue and is just east of I-87. The land was vacant at the time. A thin, 0.5 miles (0.80 km) strip of Sherman Avenue was part of this annexation, in order to comply with state law regarding contiguity of annexed land. Both the city and town now share ownership of this stretch of highway as a result.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 64.81 square miles (167.9 km2), of which, 63.01 square miles (163.2 km2) of it is land and 1.80 square miles (4.7 km2) of it (2.78%) is water.
The west town line is the border with the town of Lake Luzerne. The south town line is defined by the border with the city of Glens Falls and the Hudson River, across which lies Saratoga County, New York. The east town line is the border of Washington County, New York. The northern border is defined by the town of Lake George and, at least according to the town and Warren County, by the shoreline of the body of water, Lake George, itself. However, several maps, including those published by the USGS depict the northern boundary as including part of the lake, including Speaker Heck Island and Happy Family Islands.
There were 9,948 households out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.1% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the town the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 25.1% from 45 to 64, and 15.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $47,225, and the median income for a family was $54,880. Males had a median income of $39,260 versus $25,036 for females. The per capita income for the town was $24,096. About 3.8% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.4% of those under age 18 and 2.2% of those age 65 or over.
Queensbury is a town of the first class, and as such has a town board with a town supervisor and four councilmen. Town residents petitioned to establish a ward system in 1981 and again in 1985 whereby the town would be divided into four wards. In a ward system, whereas the supervisor is elected by the entire town electorate, each councilman is elected by only the electorate of the ward he or she will be representing. Having been approved by the voters by referendum in 1985, the first town board to be elected under the ward system convened in 1986. Queensbury is one of only ten towns out of New York's 932 towns that had a ward system as of 2000. The town also has an ethics board, planning board, and zoning board of appeals.
In county government, Queensbury is entitled to five of the 20 seats on the Warren County Board of Supervisors. (Glens Falls also gets five seats, whereas the remaining ten towns in the county receive one seat each.) Four of Queensbury's seats are filled by town-wide election, whereas the fifth is reserved for the town supervisor.
Emergency services can be accessed by dialing 9-1-1, which routes calls to Warren County's 911 Communications Center.
Law enforcement and other police services are provided by the Warren County Sheriff's Office and are supplemented by the New York State Police, which maintains a barracks in the town. Queensbury has not had its own police force since disbanding it in 1982.
The town is divided into five fire protection districts: Bay Ridge, North Queensbury, Queensbury Central, South Queensbury, and West Glens Falls. Each district contains at least one fire station, with Queensbury Central and West Glens Falls each having two stations.
Queensbury was the home of the Lake George Opera Festival from 1965 to 1998. During this period, the festival was held in the 875-seat Queensbury High School auditorium, producing three to seven operas per year.