Kingston, New York

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This article is about the city. For the nearby town named Kingston, see Kingston (town), New York.
Stockade District, Kingston, NY
Stockade District, Kingston, NY
Official seal of Kingston
Nickname(s): K- Town
Kingston is located in New York
Location within the state of New York
Coordinates: 41°55′30″N 74°0′00″W / 41.92500°N 74.00000°W / 41.92500; -74.00000Coordinates: 41°55′30″N 74°0′00″W / 41.92500°N 74.00000°W / 41.92500; -74.00000
Country United States
State New York
County Ulster
 • Mayor Shayne Gallo (D)
 • Common Council
Elevation 476 ft (145 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 23,893
 • Metro 177,749
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 12401-12402
Area code(s) 845
FIPS code 36-39727
GNIS feature ID 0979119

Kingston /ˈkɪŋstən/ is a city in and the county seat of Ulster County, New York, United States. It is 91 miles (146 km) north of New York City and 59 miles (95 km) south of Albany. It became New York's first capital in 1777, and was burned by the British on October 13, 1777, after the Battles of Saratoga. In the 19th century, the city became an important transport hub after the discovery of natural cement in the region, and had both railroad and canal connections. Passenger rail service has since ceased, and many of the older buildings are part of three historic districts, such as the Stockade District uptown, the Midtown Neighborhood Broadway Corridor, and the Rondout-West Strand Historic District downtown.


As early as 1614 the Dutch had set up a factorij (trading post) at Ponckhockie, at the junction of the Rondout Creek and the Hudson River. The first recorded permanent settler in what would become the city of Kingston, was Thomas Chambers, who came from the area of Rensselaerswyck in 1653. The place was called Esopus after the local Esopus tribe. As more settlers arrived, tensions developed between the Esopua and the Dutch, in part due to the Dutch selling alcohol to the young Esopus men.[1]

In the spring of 1658 Peter Stuyvesant, Director-General of New Amsterdam, arrived and advised the residents that if they wished to remain they must re-located to high ground and build a stockade. Tensions continued between the Esopus and the settlers, eventually leading to the Esopus Wars. In 1661 the settlement was granted a charter as a separate municipality; Stuyvesant named it Wiltwijck (Wiltwyck).[1] It was not until 1663 that the Dutch ended the four-year conflict with the Esopus through a coalition of Dutch settlers, Wappinger and Mohawk. Wiltwyck was one of three large Hudson River settlements in New Netherland, the other two being Beverwyck, now Albany, and New Amsterdam, now New York City. With the English seizure of New Netherland in 1664, relations between the Dutch settlers and the English soldiers garrisoned there were often strained. In 1669 Wiltwyck was re-named Kingston, in honor of the family seat of Governor Lovelace's mother.[1]

In 1777, Kingston became the first capital of New York. During the summer of 1777, when the New York State constitution was written, New York City was occupied by British troops and Albany (then the second largest settlement in New York and capital of the newly independent State of New York) was under threat of attack by the British. The seat of government was moved to Kingston, which was deemed safer. However, the British never reached Albany, having been stopped at Saratoga, but they did reach Kingston. On October 13, 1777, the city was burned by British troops[2] moving up river from New York City, and disembarking at the mouth of the Rondout Creek at "Ponckhockie". The denizens of Kingston knew of the oncoming fleet. By the time the British arrived, the residents and government officials had removed to Hurley, New York. The area was a major granary for the colonies at the time, so the British burned large amounts of wheat and all but one or two of the buildings. Kingston celebrates and re-enacts the 1777 burning of the city by the British every other year (2015 is the next "burning" of Kingston), in an city-wide theatrical staging of the event that begins at the Rondout.

Kingston was incorporated as a village on April 6, 1805. In the early 1800s four sloops plied the river from Kingston to New York. By 1829 steamers made the trip to Manhattan in a little over twelve hours, usually travelling by night. Columbus Point (now known as Kingston Point) was the river landing for Kingston and stage lines ran from the village to the Point.[3] The Dutch cultural influence in Kingston remained strong through the end of the nineteenth century.


Parts of the historic Rondout neighborhood still have historic architecture.
Main article: Rondout, New York

Prior to 1825 Rondout was a small farming village. Construction of the Delaware and Hudson Canal from Rondout to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, brought a influx of laborers. With the completion of the canal in 1828, Rondout became an important tide-ware coal terminal. Natural cement deposits were found throughout the valley, and in 1844 quarrying began in the "Ponchockie" section of Rondout. The Newark Lime and Cement Company shipped cement throughout the United States, a thriving business until the invention of the cheaper, quicker drying Portland Cement. Large warehouses of ice sat beside the Hudson River from which the ice was cut during the winter and preserved all year to be used in early refrigeration.[4] Large brick making factories were also located close to this shipping hub.[5][6] Rondout's central location as a shipping hub ended with the advent of railroads which ran through Rondout and Kingston but could transport their loads through the city without stopping.


A 19th-century Bluestone shipping depot on the Rondout Creek

Wilbur (aka Twaalfskill) was a hamlet upstream from Rondout where the Twaalskill met the Rondout Creek. There was a sloop landing there and it later became the center for the shipment of bluestone to create the sidewalks of New York City.

Kingston officially became a city on May 29, 1872, with the merger of the villages of Rondout and Kingston, and the hamlet of Wilbur.[7]


Recently restored steeple in Downtown Kingston, New York

Kingston has three recognized area neighborhoods. The Uptown Stockade Area, The Midtown Area, and The Downtown Waterfront Area. The Uptown Stockade Stockade District was the first capital of New York State. Meanwhile, the Midtown area is known for its early 20th century industries and plays home to the Ulster Performing Arts Center and the historic City Hall building. The downtown area, once the village of Rondout and now the Rondout-West Strand Historic District, borders the Rondout Creek and is home to recently redeveloped waterfront . The creek empties into the Hudson River through a large, protected tidal area which was the terminus of the Delaware and Hudson Canal, built to haul coal from Pennsylvania to New York City.[8]

Downtown, called "the Rondout" because it was formerly known as Rondout, New York, is an artist community labeled by Business Week online as one of "America's best places for artists."[9] It is home to a large number of art galleries. Kingston holds many festivals in the Rondout neighborhood, including the Kingston Jazz Festival, the Artists Soapbox Derby, and Drum Boogie.[citation needed]

Midtown is the largest of Kingston's neighborhoods and home to Kingston/Benedictine Hospital.[citation needed]

While the Uptown area is noted for its "antique" feeling, the overhangs attached to buildings along Wall and North Front streets were added to historic buildings in the late 1970s and are not authentically part of the 19th century Victorian architecture. The historic covered storefront walks, known as the Pike Plan, were recently reinforced and modernized with skylights. More notably in Uptown is the Stockade district, where many 17th century stone buildings remain. Most notable of these is the Senate House, which was built in the 1670s and was used as the state capital during the revolution. Many of these old buildings were burned by the British Oct. 17, 1777, and restored later. A controversial restoration of 1970s-era canopies was marred by the sudden appearance of painted red goats on planters just prior to the neighborhood's rededication.[10] This part of the city is also the location of the Ulster County Office Building.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22.4 km2), of which 7.3 square miles (19.0 km2) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2), or 15.03%, is water. The city is on the west bank of the Hudson River. Neighboring towns include Hurley, Saugerties, Rhinebeck, and Red Hook.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 6,315
1880 18,344 190.5%
1890 21,261 15.9%
1900 24,535 15.4%
1910 25,908 5.6%
1920 26,688 3.0%
1930 28,088 5.2%
1940 28,589 1.8%
1950 28,817 0.8%
1960 29,260 1.5%
1970 25,544 −12.7%
1980 24,481 −4.2%
1990 23,095 −5.7%
2000 23,456 1.6%
2010 23,893 1.9%
Est. 2014 23,557 [11] −1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

As of the 2010 census, there were 23,887 people, 9,844 households, and 5,498 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,189.5 persons per square mile (1,232.2/km2). There were 10,637 housing units at an average density of 1,446.4 houses per square mile (558.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 73.2% White, 14.6% Black or African American, 0.50% Native American, 1.80% Asian, 1.90% from other races, and 5.00% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.4% of the population.

As per the 2000 census there were 9,871 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.2% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.3% were non-families. 36.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 17.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,594, and the median income for a family was $41,806. Males had a median income of $31,634 versus $25,364 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,662, with 12.4% of families and 15.8% of the population below the poverty line, including 23.5% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.


City Hall in Kingston, NY

The government of Kingston consists of a mayor and city council known as the Common Council. The Common Council consists of 10 members, nine of which are elected from wards while one is elected at large. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote every four years.

Shayne Gallo was elected to the mayoral post in 2011.[13]


Kingston CitiBus provides service within the city and to Port Ewen.

Commuter service is available by bus to New York City daily via Trailways of New York. The 90 mile trip takes roughly two hours by motor coach.

Passenger railroad service to Kingston itself has been discontinued for several decades. However, about 11 miles (20 km) away is the Rhinecliff-Kingston Amtrak station, and 17 miles (30 km) away is the Poughkeepsie Amtrak/Metro-North station. CSX Transportation operates freight rail service through Kingston on the River Line Subdivision. There is also a small rail yard of about 7 tracks in Kingston.

New York State Route 199 has the nearest bridge traversing the Hudson River, 4.32 miles (6.95 km) to the north. U.S. Highway 9W runs north-south through the city. The New York State Thruway, also known at this section as Interstate 87, runs through the western part of the city.

The area is served by Kingston-Ulster airport (2ON), located at the western base of the Kingston-Rhinecliff bridge. The nearest major airports to Kingston are Stewart International Airport 39 miles (62.8 km) south in Newburgh, and Albany International Airport approximately 65 miles (121 km) north.[14] The three major metropolitan airports for New York City - John F. Kennedy International approximately 93 miles (149 km) south, Newark Liberty International approximately 86 miles (139 km) south, and LaGuardia Airport approximately 80 miles (129 km) south.

City bus service is provided by the city-owned CitiBus system (headquarters at 420 Broadway), while service to points elsewhere in Ulster County is provided by Ulster County Area Transit (UCAT). Route A travels between Kingston Plaza and Riverfront, B between Albany Avenue and Fairview Avenue, and C between Golden Hill and Port Ewen.[15]

On the first Saturday of every month an "art bus" is available for a fare of $1. The bus, usually a CitiBus tourist trolley, takes passengers on a guided tour of the art galleries of Kingston. Kingston's art galleries all have openings on the first Saturday of the month.

Weekend water taxi service between Kingston and Rhinecliff, New York is available May through October for $10 round-trip.[16] Some trips stop at the Rondout Light; a tour is available for an additional $5.[17]

Kingston historically was an important transportation center for the region. The Hudson River, Rondout Creek and Delaware and Hudson Canal were important commercial waterways. At one time, Kingston was served by four railroad companies and two trolley lines. Kingston was designated as a New York State Heritage Area with a transportation theme and the Hudson River Maritime Museum and Trolley Museum of New York are located on the waterfront. Also, the Catskill Mountain Railroad, a scenic railroad company, runs trains from Kingston on the former Ulster and Delaware right of way.

Historic churches[edit]

Kingston is home to many historic churches. The oldest church still standing is the First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Kingston which was organized in 1659. Referred to as The Old Dutch Church, it is located in Uptown Kingston. Many of the city's historic churches populate Wurts street (6 in one block) among them Hudson Valley Wedding Chapel is a recently restored church built in 1867 and now a chapel hosting weddings. Another church in the Rondout is located at 72 Spring Street. Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church was founded in 1849. The original church building at the corner of Hunter Street and Ravine Street burned to the ground in the late 1850s. The current church on Spring Street was built in 1874.[18]


In 1863 the one-room St. Joseph's School was founded in Wilbur by Father Felix Farrelly, pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Rondout, which was later sold to the city of Kingston in 1871.[19]

In 1867 Rev. James Coyne was appointed pastor of St. Mary's in Rondout. The following year he established St. Joseph's in Kingston. He purchased the Young Men's Gymnasium on the corner of Fair and Bowery Streets. The first Mass was said on September 21, 1868 by Rev. James Dougherty, an alumnus of St. Mary's parochial school. Dougherty became the first pastor of St. Joseph's parish.[19] Dougherty is buried in St. Mary's Cemetery.

As the chapel was deemed too small, the former Kingston Armory at the corner of Wall and Main Streets was purchased. The new church was dedicated on July 26, 1869. In 1877 Jockey Hill was made a mission of St. Joseph's. In 1962 a mission was established in Hurley.

In 1893 the church underwent a major renovation, including the installation of the side altars. The new church front was completed in 1898. The interior was renovated in 1905.[19]

The frame building on the Bowery was turned into a schoolhouse. This was replaced in 1905 with the acquisition of the former mansion of Judge Alton B. Parker at 1 Pearl Street for a new St. Joseph's School and Convent. The Fair Street school building continued to be used as the parish hall until the property was sold in 1911.[20] Also in 1911 a site for a larger school and convent was secured and 1 Pearl Street was sold. In 1943 the Sisters of St. Ursula replaced the Sisters of Charity at the school.

In February 1962 construction began on the current St Joseph School which housed eight additional classrooms. Old St. Joseph School was re-named the Msgr. Stephen Connolly Bldg. A plaque donated by the Holy Name Society in honor of Father John Broidy, the pastor who oversaw construction of the building in 1912, is located on the right front of the building.[21]


The Kingston Tigers are the city high school's sports teams.



Health and medical[edit]

HealthAlliance of the Hudson Valley, is one Hospital, with two campuses, combining the Former Benedictine and Kingston Hospitals.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Schoonmaker, Marius. The History of Kingston, Burr Print. House, Kingston, NY 1888
  2. ^ "Burning of Kingston". New York Packet. 23 October 1777. Retrieved 2014-08-06. 
  3. ^ Hendricks, Howard. "Kingston", Clearwater, Alfonso Trumpbour. The History of Ulster County, New York, W. J. Van Deusen, Kingston NY, 1907
  4. ^ "Close Of The Ice Harvest.; Nearly All The Houses Filled--The Largest Crop Ever Gathered". The New York Times. 1881-01-25. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  5. ^ "Ulster Landing and East Kingston". 
  6. ^ Rob Yasinsac. "Hudson Valley Ruins: East Kingston - Hudson Cement Company and Shultz Brick Yard by Rob Yasinsac". 
  7. ^ Steuding, Robert Rondout A Hudson River Port p. 155
  8. ^ "Hudson River Maritime Museum". 
  9. ^ "America's Best Places for Artists". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 2007-10-10. 
  10. ^ Leonard, DB (November 23, 2011). "DB Leonard commentary: Goats go viral". Kingston Times. Ulster Publishing. Retrieved November 27, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  13. ^ Horrigan, Jeremiah. "Shayne Gallo takes Kingston's top prize". recordonline. Dow Jones Local Media Group. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Traveler's Information". Ulster County. 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Kingston-Rhinecliff water taxi launches today". 
  17. ^ "The Lark: Hudson River Water Taxi". 
  18. ^ Confessore, Nicholas; Barbaro, Michael (2011-06-25). "New York Clerks' Offices Gird for Influx of Gay Couples". The New York Times. 
  19. ^ a b c "Our History", Church of St. Joseph, Kingston
  20. ^ Burtsell, Richard Lalor. "The Roman Catholic Church", Clearwater, Alphonso Trumpbour. The History of Ulster County, New York, W. J. Van Deusen, 1907 - Ulster County (N.Y.)
  21. ^!history/c1yr1 "A Brief Chronicle of St. Joseph School", St. Joseph School, Kingston]

External links[edit]