Rhinebeck (village), New York

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Rhinebeck, New York
Beekman Arms Inn, the oldest continually operating inn in America.
Beekman Arms Inn, the oldest continually operating inn in America.
Official seal of Rhinebeck, New York
Location of Rhinebeck, New York
Location of Rhinebeck, New York
Coordinates: 41°55′39″N 73°54′32″W / 41.92750°N 73.90889°W / 41.92750; -73.90889Coordinates: 41°55′39″N 73°54′32″W / 41.92750°N 73.90889°W / 41.92750; -73.90889
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
 • TypeBoard of Trustees
 • MayorGary Bassett (D)
 • Trustee
 • Total1.53 sq mi (3.95 km2)
 • Land1.51 sq mi (3.90 km2)
 • Water0.02 sq mi (0.05 km2)
200 ft (61 m)
 • Total2,657
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,701.86/sq mi (657.17/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)845 Exchanges: 871,876
FIPS code36-61346
GNIS feature ID0962436

Rhinebeck is a village in the town of Rhinebeck in Dutchess County, New York, United States. The population was 2,657 at the 2010 census.[3] It is part of the PoughkeepsieNewburghMiddletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New YorkNewarkBridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.

The postal ZIP code is 12572. U.S. Route 9 passes through the village.


Native American presence pre-contact[edit]

Rhinebeck's Native history is understood colonially and/or archaeologically.[4] The Sepasco tribe are the original stewards of the land currently known as Rhinebeck, NY. Sepasco/Sepascot is derived from the word sepuus, which means little river or stream, and refers to the Landman's Kill stream whose cot or coot, meaning mouth, opens onto the southwestern shoreline of present-day Rhinebeck.[5] This was the watershed of the Sepasco tribe.[6]

The Sepasco tribe had established a fertile stretch of land as a trail/tract leading from what is currently White School House Road to what later became the Rock City Community,[4][7] east of where the village of Rhinebeck is now.[6] A stopping point on the trail must have been a spring located there, that then led to the Landman's Kill stream and followed it to the east, along the north bank.[6] The trail continued to a Native village at what is currently known as Lake Sepasco, close in proximity to the cave later called Welch's Cave.[6]


John Benner House Historic Site

European settlement in the Rhinebeck area dates to 1686, when a group of Dutch crossed the river from Kingston and bought 2,200 acres (890 ha) of land from three members of the local Sepasco tribe.[8][page needed]

"It is acknowledged by these presents that upon the 8th day of June, 1686, in the presence of the magistrates, have Aran Kee, Kreme Much, and Korra Kee, young Indians, appeared, the which do acknowledge to have sold to Gerrit Artsen, Arie Rosa and Jan Elton a certain parcell of land, lying upon the east shore, right over against the mouth of the Redout Creek, bounded between a small creek and the river, the which said creek is sold to the purchasers. The bounds of the said land beginneth at the parting of the lands of Henry Kip, and by a small creek called, in the Indian speech, Quanelos ; and then runs right through to a great oak tree, marked and scored by the Indians ; then runs south to where the upper-most creek comes into the same ; and then by the said creek to the river ; for which the purchasers promise to pay to the aboriginal sellers, or cause to be paid, as follows: Six buffaloes, four blankets, five kettels, four guns, five horns, five axes, ten kans of powder, eight shirts, eight pairs of stockings, forty fathoms of wampum, or sewant, two drawing knives, two adzes, ten knives, half anker rum, one frying pan ; which payment shall and must be made on the 1st of November next ensuing; and with the payment the Indians are bound to give a free transport and license unto them, the which both parties promise to adhere to. The day and year as above said."[8][page needed]

Later, Henry Beekman obtained a patent for the land and saw a need for development to begin. He brought into the area Casper Landsman, a miller, and William Traphagen, a builder. In 1703, the New York colonial assembly approved money for the construction of the King's Highway, later known as the Albany Post Road and today most of Route 9. Three years later Traphagen bought a tract of land in Beekman's patent where the King's Highway intersected the Sepasco Indian Trail, the route today followed by Market Street. He built a house and tavern on the trail a short distance west of the King's Highway. This was the beginning of Rhinebeck.

Perspective map of Rhinebeck with list of landmarks from 1890 by L.R. Burleigh

A decade later, in 1715, Beekman's son brought in 35 German Palatines who had fled religious persecution at home and had just concluded an attempt to produce naval stores for the British government on the lands of Robert Livingston to the north in what is now Columbia County. The village grew with the new arrivals. New trades established themselves, and in 1733 the Reformed Dutch Church was built. Its first building was on the site of its current one at Mill and South streets. In 1766 the beginnings of the current Beekman Inn were erected. It has remained in operation as a hotel ever since.

The Henry Delamater House, in the Rhinebeck Village Historic District

In the mid-1770s, a former soldier named Richard Montgomery moved from Knight's Bridge (now the Bronx) into the Rhinebeck village with his new wife, a member of the Livingston family. He had just begun to settle into life as a farmer when the American Revolution began. After being elected to the New York Provincial Congress, he was commissioned a general in the Continental Army, and died at the end of 1775 in the Battle of Quebec. Montgomery's cottage still stands, although it was moved to 77 Livingston Street, where it houses the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter; the street it was on was later named in his honor.

A roughly cubical two-story brick and concrete building with metal lettering spelling out "Village of Rhinbeck" above the entrance. On the left side are four garage doors and a flagpole from which an American flag hangs.
Village hall

After independence, the village continued to grow. The town of Rhinebeck, which contains the village, was organized in 1788. The current Dutch Reformed Church was built in 1802, making it the oldest church in the village. The current route of East Market Street was laid out the same year during construction of the Ulster-Saulsbury Turnpike, later to become Route 308. Rhinebeck continued to attract politicians. George Washington visited in 1796, dining at Bogardus's, the second Traphagen Tavern, when he stayed at a nearby friend's house. During the 1804 gubernatorial election, both Aaron Burr and Morgan Lewis used taverns in Rhinebeck as campaign headquarters.

The village was incorporated in 1834. Ten years later, Alexander Jackson Davis built the Henry Delamater House at 44 Montgomery Street. It still stands today, one of the best examples of the early use of the Gothic Revival style in American residential architecture.

By the 1850s, Rhinebeck had grown even further and acquired a reputation as a woodworking center. The town's name on milled products was a symbol of quality, and its furniture was shipped as far away as South Carolina. It was said to have no better in making carriages, coaches and sleighs. Some makers of clothing also achieved national prestige. The area was also acquiring a cachet as a location for the country estates of the Gilded Age wealthy, and those people could frequently be seen in town during the summer and on weekends.[citation needed]

The Maples

In 1885, former congressman and ambassador to France Levi P. Morton settled in Bois Dore on Mill Street. Benjamin Harrison chose him to be his running mate on the 1888 Republican ticket. Harrison was visiting him in Rhinebeck later that year when word came to them that they had just been elected. Later, Morton would serve as governor of the state. He died there in 1920 and is buried in Rhinebeck Cemetery.

The end of the 19th century saw a new industry center on Rhinebeck: the cultivation of violets. Roughly 20% of the village's population during the Gay Nineties was in this business in some way, and the total crop was later estimated to have exceeded a million dollars in value some years. Several of the "violet houses" built during this era survive and are located in the district.

An 1890 map of the village shows it as nearly coterminous with today's historic district. That area has remained mostly as it was at that time. A third president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, himself a native of nearby Hyde Park, would play a role in the town's history during the later years of the Great Depression when he oversaw the design process for the new post office. He had long promoted Dutch-style fieldstone as a material for public buildings in the area, and told the architects to use Henry Beekman's house (burned in a 1910 fire) as their model and some of its remaining stones for the post office. He spoke at the dedication ceremony and helped lay the cornerstone. The oldest building in the village is the Benner House, built in 1739.

The Wilderstein mansion, a current historical site on the Hudson River, features both colonial and archaeological history dating from June, 1853.[9] "Wilderstein", named by Thomas Suckley and his wife Catherine Murray Bowne and which translates to "wild man's stone", references a petroglyph from local Sepasco or Esopus peoples on the property, serving as a historical reminder of pre-European settlement.[10]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.5 square miles (4.0 km2), of which 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2), or 1.31%, is water.[3]

Via U.S. Route 9 it is 17 miles (27 km) south to Poughkeepsie, the county seat, 5 miles (8 km) north to Red Hook, and 26 miles (42 km) north to Hudson. Rhinecliff, with its Amtrak station, is 2 miles (3 km) to the west, along the Hudson River.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)2,563[2]−3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 3,077 people, 1,376 households, and 690 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,902.1 inhabitants per square mile (734.4/km2). There were 1,463 housing units at an average density of 904.4 per square mile (348.7/km2).

There were 1,376 households, out of which 19.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.7% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.8% were non-families. 43.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 22.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.00 and the average family size was 2.78.

In the village, the population was spread out, with 18.9% under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 23.3% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 28.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 women there were 80.6 men. For every 100 women age 18 and over, there were 70.5 men.

The median income for a household in the village was $41,639, and the median income for a family was $57,000. Males had a median income of $46,653 versus $40,058 for females. The per capita income for the village was $28,773. About 3.4% of families and 9.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.7% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.

Racial demographics[edit]

As of 2017, the residents of Dutchess County were reported as the following: American Indian and Alaska Native (0.04%), Asian (4%), Black or African American (8.5%), Hispanic or Latino (12.5%), Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.016%), Some Other Race (0.35%), Two or More Races (3%), White (71%).[13]

[14]Dutchess County Racial Demographics Chart

Notable people[edit]

Vice President Levi Morton, who died in Rhinebeck

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 27, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Rhinebeck village, New York". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved November 16, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Kelly, Nancy, 1937- (2001). A brief history of Rhinebeck. New York: The Wise Family Trust in cooperation with Museum of Rhinebeck History and the Rhinebeck Historical Society. p. 14. ISBN 082569423X. OCLC 50194886.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Kelly, Nancy, 1937- (2001). A brief history of Rhinebeck. New York: The Wise Family Trust in cooperation with Museum of Rhinebeck History and the Rhinebeck Historical Society. p. 4. ISBN 082569423X. OCLC 50194886.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b c d Kelly, Nancy V. (2000). "September 2000 Chamber Line" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-05-20.
  7. ^ 1786 Sepascoot Tract and lands of William VanVredenburg by NYSL Albany-Manuscripts
  8. ^ a b Smith, E. M. (Edward M. ) (1881). Documentary history of Rhinebeck. The Library of Congress. Rhinebeck, N.Y.
  9. ^ "Wildercliff" (PDF). Year Book Dutchess County Historical Society. 17. 1932.
  10. ^ "History". Wilderstein Historic Site. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  13. ^ "Dutchess County, NY | Data USA". datausa.io. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  14. ^ "Dutchess County, NY | Data USA". datausa.io. Retrieved 2019-11-15.
  15. ^ "Mississippi Governor John Anthony Quitman". National Governors Association. Retrieved June 11, 2017.
  • Nancy Kelly, Rhinebeck's Historic Architecture
  • Nancy Kelly, A Brief History of Rhinebeck
  • Edward Smith, History of Rhinebeck
  • Rhinebeck: Echoes of Two Centuries

External links[edit]