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Putnam County, New York facts for kids

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Putnam County
Sugarloaf Hill in the Hudson Highlands
Flag of Putnam County
Official seal of Putnam County
Map of New York highlighting Putnam County
Location within the U.S. state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  New York
Founded 1812
Named for Israel Putnam
Seat Carmel Hamlet
Largest CDP Lake Carmel
 • Total 246 sq mi (640 km2)
 • Land 230 sq mi (600 km2)
 • Water 16 sq mi (40 km2)  6.5%
 • Total 97,668
 • Density 424.2/sq mi (163.8/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 18th
Israel putnam portrait
Israel Putnam, Major General in the American Revolution and the county's namesake
Downtown Carmel, NY
Downtown Carmel

Putnam County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2020 census, the population was 97,668. The county seat is Carmel. Putnam County formed in 1812 from Dutchess County and is named for Israel Putnam, a hero in the French and Indian War and a general in the American Revolutionary War.

Putnam County is included in the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the lower Hudson River Valley. Midtown Manhattan is around a one-hour drive, and Grand Central Terminal is approximately one hour and twenty minutes by train from the county.

It is one of the most affluent counties in America, ranked 21st by median household income, and 43rd by per-capita income, according to the 2012 American Community Survey and 2009-2013 American Community Survey, respectively.


Map of Philipse Patent (showing the Oblong and Gore)
Map of Philipse Patent (showing the Oblong and Gore)

In 1609, a Native American people called the Wappinger inhabited the east bank of the Hudson River. They farmed, hunted, and fished throughout their range, often encountering Dutch traders, from whom they obtained goods such as alcohol and firearms.

The colonial Province of New York and the Connecticut Colony negotiated an agreement on November 28, 1683, establishing their border as 20 miles (32 km) east of the Hudson River, north to Massachusetts. Dutchess county was then established as one of New York's twelve counties. It included all of today's Putnam County and two towns in the present Columbia county. Until 1713, Dutchess was administered by Ulster county.

In 1691, a group of Dutch traders purchased a tract of land from the Wappingers spanning from Hudson to the Connecticut border. Six years later they sold it to wealthy Dutch-American merchant Adolphus Philipse, who then obtained a Royal sanction for a "Highland Patent" (later to be known as the Philipse Patent) that encompassed most of today's Putnam County. Unknown at that time was a veer in the river's path to the northwest at the Hudson Highlands, resulting in a dispute over a roughly 2 mile wide section of border between northern Westchester and then-Dutchess counties and the Connecticut Colonly that came to be known as "The Oblong".

In 1737, the New York Colonial Assembly designated the Philipse Patent as the South Precinct of Dutchess County, and the Philipses began leasing farms to immigrants from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Long Island and lower Westchester. After Adolph Philipse's death, the Patent was divided in 1754 into nine lots granted to three heirs: Mary Philipse, Philip Philipse, and Susannah Philipse Robinson. During the French and Indian War, many of the Wappingers went to Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

Putnam was slow to be settled compared to other parts of the Hudson Valley, for two reasons. Firstly, it was privately owned and settlement was limited to tenent farmers willing to pay a portion of their earnings to Phillipse. Secondly, it was mostly hilly and rocky and unattractive to farmers looking for tillable cropland, and therefore was limited to dairy farming and wood cutting. The first non-tenent settlers in the county were along its eastern edge, due to an ambiguous border with Connecticut, which attracted farmers from New England, who presumed that the disputed area was not owned by Phillipse.

A 1799 map of Connecticut which shows The Oblong. From Low's Encyclopaedia.

An early settler was the Hayt family, which built a farm called The Elm in 1720. Jacob Haviland settled in the Oblong in 1731 in what became known as Haviland Hollow. The first village in the county was Fredericksburg, now the hamlet of Patterson.

During the Revolution, the Philipses stayed loyal to the Crown and were stripped of their lands. The Philipse Patent was sold along with the rest of their holdings. The dispute over The Oblong was resolved in the aftermath of the war, with the heavily settled tract being incorporated as the first of two versions of the Town of Southeast. Also resolved was "The Gore", a lowland area near Fishkill Creek above the Hudson Highlands along the northern border of the Phillipse patent. Being geographically similar to the Livingston and Beekman patents it abutted, The Gore was ceded to Dutchess county.

Due to the increasing population of the Southern Precinct of Dutchess County and the great distance of its communities from its county seat, Poughkeepsie, Putnam was split from Dutchess in 1812 and created its own county. Putnam was also able to function as a separate county because of the easy transportation provided by the Hudson River. Boats transporting goods traveled up the Hudson to ports, mainly at Peekskill, where it was brought out Peekskill Hollow Rd. into Putnam County, or goods were unloaded in Putnam County itself at Cold Spring. Problems arose when the river froze in the winter, which resulted in little food or goods being brought to the county. The Philipstown Turnpike was created in 1815 as a toll road from Cold Spring to Connecticut. The wagons that traveled the road would transport produce from eastern Putnam County and iron ore from the mines. The route of the turnpike can roughly be traced today: Rt 301 from Cold Spring to Farmers Mills Road, to White Pond Road to Pecksville, then Holmes Rd to Patterson, then Quaker Hill Rd to Connecticut. Transportation improved again with the advent of the railroad, namely the Harlem Line, which was built in the 1840s, connecting Putnam by rail to New York City. There were originally four stations on the Harlem line in Putnam County: Brewster, Dykemans, Towners, and Patterson. Today only the Brewster and Patterson stops remain, with a new one added in modern times called Southeast.

Putnam County played an important role in the Civil War. One third of the county's men between the ages of 15 and 55 served in the military at the time of the war. During the post-Civil War years, industry and agriculture suffered losses. Iron, which was produced in the Highland Mountains, could be found elsewhere. Agriculture was also affected greatly. The increasing need for drinking water in New York City led the city to search the Hudson Valley for water. In Putnam County, much of the farmland were flooded to create reservoirs. The abandoning of farms, the creation of reservoirs, and the preservation of the remaining open land resulted in scenic lands that drew large amounts of tourism from New York City.

By the 20th century, improved roads brought vacationers from New York City, which led to creation of the Taconic State Parkway during the Great Depression. This brought more vacationers, which were attracted to the scenic land and the inexpensive hotels, inns, and summer houses. Putnam County's population doubled during the summer months.

After World War II, Putnam County became an exurb of New York City. Rapid development occurred as Putnam County evolved into a bedroom community. However, the protection of Putnam county's reservoirs inherently limited development, as much of the land in the county is close to wetlands or reservoirs. Since World War II, the county has seen the development of the Taconic State Parkway as well as several state routes.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 246 square miles (640 km2), of which 230 square miles (600 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (6.5%) is water.

Putnam County is situated in the lower Hudson Valley in the southeastern part of New York, between the Hudson River on its west and the New York-Connecticut border on its east. Putnam is southeast of Newburgh, and it is north of White Plains. Depending on precise location within the county, road travel distance to New York City ranges between 45 miles (72 km) and 65 miles (105 km).

The terrain of the county is generally hilly. The region of the county nearest the Hudson River is especially so, and is part of the Hudson Highlands. The highest point in Putnam County is Scofield Ridge, with four summits at approximately 1,540 feet (469 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level along the Hudson. The Hudson River, named for Henry Hudson, has provided transportation of goods from New York City, north to the Hudson Valley, throughout history.


Putnam County is known for its many reservoirs, part of the New York City Watershed System. Some of the larger include Bog Brook in Southeast; Croton Falls Reservoir in Carmel and Southeast; Diverting Reservoir in Southeast; East Branch in Brewster; Middle Branch Reservoir in Southeast; West Branch in Kent and Carmel, and Boyds Corner Reservoir in Kent.

Adjacent counties


The climate of Putnam County is humid continental, as is most of New York. In the winter, bouts of cold, dry air arrive from Canada, and interior sections of North America. In the summer, the Gulf Stream brings hot, moist, humid air to the county. Extratropical storms often affect the county; in the winter, Nor'easters bring heavy snow and rain, and sometimes high wind. In the summer and fall, back door cold fronts move in from the north and bring thunderstorms, sometimes severe. Putnam County receives on average 36 inches of snowfall a year.

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Carmel, New York on the top and average monthly precipitation in inches on the lower section.
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Carmel 33/16 38/19 48/27 60/37 71/48 78/57 82/62 81/60 74/53 62/42 49/32 38/22
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Carmel 3.58" 3.10" 4.06" 4.44" 4.33" 4.11" 5.07" 4.09" 4.72" 4.12" 4.42" 3.86"


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 11,268
1830 12,628 12.1%
1840 12,825 1.6%
1850 14,138 10.2%
1860 14,002 −1.0%
1870 15,420 10.1%
1880 15,181 −1.5%
1890 14,849 −2.2%
1900 13,787 −7.2%
1910 14,665 6.4%
1920 10,802 −26.3%
1930 13,744 27.2%
1940 16,555 20.5%
1950 20,307 22.7%
1960 31,722 56.2%
1970 56,696 78.7%
1980 77,193 36.2%
1990 83,941 8.7%
2000 95,745 14.1%
2010 99,710 4.1%
2020 97,668 −2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013
2010 and 2020

According to the 2020 Census, there were 97,668 people and 38,713 households in the county, with 2.76 persons per household. The population density was 432.9 people per square mile (160/km2). 50.1% of the population was female. The racial makeup of the county was 77.1% White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, 3.9% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.0% from other races, 1.8% from two or more races and 16.4% Hispanic or Latino of any race. 12.9% of the population was foreign born.

4.5% of the population was under the age of 5, 19.4% under the age of 18, and 18.0% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.4 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $104,486, and the per capita income was $47,448. 5.2% of the population was in poverty.

93% of the population at least 25 years old had a high school degree or higher, and 39.6% had a bachelor's degree or higher.

There were 38,713 housing units, 81.8% of which were owner occupied. As of Q4 2021, the median value of all homes in Putnam County was $419,890, an increase of 12.1% from the prior year.


Crossing 800
Route 311 looking east in Patterson

Putnam has two interstate highways. The east–west Interstate 84 comes in from the north near Ludingtonville, and connects to the southbound Interstate 684 in Southeast toward the Connecticut border. The Taconic State Parkway runs north–south through central Putnam. Three of the region's major east–west routes traverse the eastern half of the county. NY 52 enters alongside I-84 from Dutchess County, to end at US 6 south of Carmel. East of Brewster, US 6 joins US 202 and the routes leave the county and state concurrently aside the interstate.

Brewster train station
Brewster train station

The county has several passenger trains that serve the county. The Harlem Line and the Hudson Line of the Metro-North Railroad run north–south in Putnam. The Harlem Line makes stops at Brewster, Southeast, and Patterson. The Hudson Line makes stops at Manitou, Garrison, Cold Spring, and Breakneck Ridge. A connection to Amtrak can be made to the south at Croton-Harmon in upper Westchester County or to the north at Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County, both on the Hudson Line. Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan is roughly a one-hour train ride.

Until May 1958, a third commuter line, the New York Central’s Putnam Division, operating between the Bronx and points in the county, served the region. With no direct connection to Grand Central Terminal (a transfer was required in the Bronx), ridership on the line was weak compared to its counterparts. Freight service was also scant. The line was eventually abandoned in waves between 1962 and 1980. The former railbed has been converted to trails, and now serves as the South County Trailway, North County Trailway, and Putnam County Trailway rail trails.

Putnam Transit, operated by the county, provides local public transportation.

In contrast to the surrounding counties, Putnam has no airport.


Points of interest

Points of interest include Chuang Yen Monastery, located in Kent and home to the largest Buddha statue in the Western Hemisphere as well as the only library in the United States specializing in Buddhist history; Clarence Fahnestock State Park, a 14,000 acres (57 km2) state park named for Clarence Fahnestock containing 15 kilometers of trails for walking and hiking; Donald J. Trump State Park, a 436-acre (1.76 km2) state park located in Putnam and Westchester counties; and Thunder Ridge Ski Area, a small ski resort located in Patterson with 30 trails and 3 lifts.


There are six towns and three incorporated villages in Putnam County. There are no cities:

Ludington statue 800
Statue of Sybil Ludington in Carmel


Chuang Yen Monastery 2004
The Chuang Yen Monastery (莊嚴寺), in Kent, houses the largest indoor statue of Buddha in the Western Hemisphere.

Carmel is the county seat of Putnam County, with a population of 34,300. The town of Carmel includes the hamlets of Carmel, Carmel Hills, Field Corners, Hopkins Corners, Mahopac, Mahopac Falls, Secor Corners, Tilly Foster, and West Mahopac. Carmel is along the southern border of Putnam County. Carmel is known for its historic courthouse and high school, which serves grades 9–12. Carmel was taken from Frederickstown, a town which encompassed the present towns of Kent, Patterson, and Carmel, in 1795.


Kent is a town located along the northern border of Putnam with a population of 14,000. Kent contains the hamlets of Lake Carmel, Kent Corners, Kent Hills, and Luddingtonville. Kent was the last remaining section of Frederickstown, after the towns of Carmel and Patterson were divided off in 1795. Frederickstown had been founded in 1788.


Patterson Cemetery 2004
A cemetery in the town of Patterson

Patterson is a town located in the northeast area of Putnam County with a population of 12,000. Patterson, originally named Franklin, was divided from the former town of Frederickstown, in 1795. Patterson contains the hamlets of Patterson, Barnum Corners, Camp Brady, Fields Corners, Haines Corners, Haviland Hollow, Putnam Lake, Steinbeck Corners, Towners, and West Patterson.


Main Street, Cold Spring NY
Cold Spring's quaint Main Street, part of the federally recognized historic district in the village.

Philipstown is a town located along the western end of Putnam County with a population of 10,000. Philipstown contains the villages and hamlets of Cold Spring, Forsonville, Garrison, Garrison Four Corners, Glenclyffe, Manitou, McKeel Corners, Nelsonville, North Highland, Storm King, and the north side of Continental Village. It was founded in 1788. West Point (in Orange County) is located across the Hudson River from the village of Cold Spring.

There are 3 stations on the Metro North Railroad Hudson line: One In Garrison, one in Cold Spring and a third in Manitou, which has limited train service. There are two public libraries in Philipstown. The Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison, New York and the Julia L. Butterfield Library in Cold Spring. Surprise Lake Camp is in Cold Spring, New York


Southeast is a town located in the southeastern corner of Putnam County, with a population of 18,000. It was founded in 1788 as one of the three original towns in what would later become Putnam County. Its shape changed greatly in 1795, when it lost its northern half to Patterson and gained a great amount on its western side. It is the second largest town in Putnam County, second only to Carmel. Southeast is located at the crossroads of Interstate highways 684 and 84, and State Routes 22 and 312 and US Highways 6 and 202. Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line has two stops that service the area, at Brewster Village and Southeast Station (formerly Brewster North) off Route 312. Southeast contains the village of Brewster, and the hamlets of Brewster Hill, Brewster Heights, Deans Corners, Deforest Corners, Drewville Heights, Dykemans, Milltown, Peach Lake, Sears Corners, and Sodom.

Putnam Valley

Putnam Valley is a town located on the southern border of Putnam County with a population of 11,000. Putnam Valley contains the hamlets of Adams Corners, Christian Corners, Gilbert Corners, Lake Peekskill, Oscawana Corners, Putnam Valley, Tompkins Corners, Sunnybrook. Putnam Valley was created in 1835 as the Town Of Quincy, taking its current name the following year. The town was created by splitting off from Phillipstown. Putnam Valley is also home to the Clarence Fahnestock State Park, which covers much of Putnam County, and some of Dutchess County.

Cold Spring

Cold Spring is an incorporated village surrounded by the Town of Phillipstown and the village of Nelsonville.


Nelsonville is an incorporated village surrounded by the Town of Phillipstown and the village of Cold Spring.


Brewster is an incorporated village within the Town of Southeast.


The county has six public school districts: Brewster, Carmel, Garrison, Haldane (in Cold Spring), Mahopac, and Putnam Valley. Mahopac is the largest school district in Putnam County, educating more than 5,000 students in four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school (1600 students).

The library system consists of eight libraries; the Brewster Public Library in Brewster; the Kent Public Library in Kent; the Reed Memorial Library in Carmel; the Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library in Cold Spring; the Alice Curtis Desmond and Hamilton Fish Library in Garrison; the Mahopac Public Library in Mahopac; the Patterson Library in Patterson, and the Putnam Valley Free Library in Putnam Valley.

Putnam has no unit of any college, university, or other institution of higher education.

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See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Putnam (Nueva York) para niños

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