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Kingston
City
Stockade District, Kingston, NY
Stockade District, Kingston, NY
Official seal of Kingston
Seal
Nickname(s): K- Town
Location in Ulster County and the state of New York.
Location in Ulster County and the state of New York.
Country United States
State New York
County Ulster
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
Website City of Kingston, New York

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.

History

The Wallkill Valley in art and story (1899) (14776657215)
Kingston Point, 1899

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 Esopus and the Dutch, in part due to the Dutch selling alcohol to the young Esopus men.

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-locate 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). 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 renamed Kingston, in honor of the family seat of Governor Lovelace's mother.

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 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 (2017 is the next "burning" of Kingston), in a citywide 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. The Dutch cultural influence in Kingston remained strong through the end of the nineteenth century.

Rondout

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A 19th-century Bluestone shipping depot on the Rondout Creek
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Parts of the Rondout neighborhood still have historic architecture.

Prior to 1825 Rondout was a small farming village. Construction of the Delaware and Hudson Canal from Rondout to Honesdale, Pennsylvania, brought an 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. Large brick making factories were also located close to this shipping hub. 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.

Historic churches

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Recently restored steeple in Downtown Kingston, New York

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 1842. 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.

St. Joseph's

St. Joseph's Parish began in 1863 as a one-room mission school to serve the children of the Wilbur area, founded by Father Felix Farrelly, pastor of St. Mary's Parish in Rondout. The building was later sold to the city of Kingston in 1871.

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. 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.

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. 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 renamed 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.

Wilbur

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.

Geography

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.

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." 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.

Midtown is the largest of Kingston's neighborhoods, home to Kingston High School and both campuses of HealthAlliance Hospital, part of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network; HealthAlliance Broadway Campus (formerly The Kingston Hospital) and HealthAlliance Mary's Avenue Campus (formerly Benedictine Hospital).

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. In the Stockade district of Uptown, many 17th century stone buildings remain. Among 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. 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.

Demographics

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. 2015 23,436 −1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

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.

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