ULSTER County, NY
Ulster County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. It is situated along the Hudson River. As of the 2020 census, the population was 181,851. The county seat is Kingston. The county is named after the Irish province of Ulster.
Founding and formation
When part of the New Netherland colony, Dutch traders first called the area of present-day Ulster County "Esopus", a name borrowed for convenience from a locality on the opposite side of the Hudson. The local Lenape indigenous people called themselves Waranawanka, but soon came to be known to the Dutch as the "Esopus Indians" because they were encountered around the settlement known as Esopus. In 1652, Thomas Chambers, a freeholder from the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, purchased land at Esopus. He and several others actually settled and began farming by June, 1653. The settlements grew into the village of Wiltwijck, which the English later named Kingston. In 1683, the Duke of York created 12 counties in his province, one of which was Ulster County, named for Ulster, the northern part of Ireland, which had only recently been brought under English rule following a series of wars and rebellions, and then the Plantation of Ulster. Its boundaries at that time included the present Sullivan County and parts of the present Delaware, Orange, and Greene Counties.
In 1777, the first state capital of the independent New York State was established at Kingston. The official records of Ulster County were removed to safety to a stone house in Kerhonkson when it became evident that the British would burn Kingston.
In 1797, parts of Otsego and Ulster Counties were split off to create Delaware County.
In 1798, Ulster County's southernmost towns were moved into Orange County to compensate Orange for breaking away its southernmost part to form Rockland County.
In 1800, portions of Albany and Ulster Counties were split off to create Greene County.
In 1809, Sullivan County was split off from Ulster County.
During the American Civil War, volunteers were recruited from the county and formed the majority of the following regiments:
Other regiments with at least one company from the county included:
The Lake Mohonk Mountain House on Shawangunk Ridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of , of which is land and (3.1%) is water.
Ulster County is in southeastern New York State, south of Albany, immediately west of the Hudson River. Much of it is within the Catskill Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge. Ulster County has Minnewaska State Park Preserve, Mohonk Preserve, Sundown State Park, VerNooykill State Forest, Witches Hole State Forest, and Shawangunk Ridge State Forest. The Sam's Point section of Minnewaska includes rare dwarf pine trees and Verkeerder Kill falls.
The county's highest point is Slide Mountain, at approximately above sea level. The lowest point is sea level along the Hudson River.
National protected area
As of the census of 2010, the county had 181,440 people, 67,499 households, and 43,536 families. The population density was 158 people per square mile (61/km2). There were 77,656 housing units at an average density of 69 per square mile (27/km2). The county's racial makeup, as of 2008, was 83.2% white, 6.50% black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.15% from other races, and 1.70% from two or more races. 7.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.2% were of Italian, 16.8% Irish, 15.5% German, 6.8% English, and 4.7% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 90.3% spoke English, 4.5% Spanish, 1.2% Italian, and 1.0% German as their first language.
There were 67,499 households, of which 30.70% had children under age 18 living with them, 49.20% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.50% were non-families. Of all households, 27.90% were made up of individuals, and 10.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.03.
23.50% of the county's population was under age 18, 8.70% was from age 18 to 24, 29.70% was from age 25 to 44, 24.70% was from age 45 to 64, and 13.30% was age 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.60 males.
The county's median household income was $42,551, and the median family income was $51,708. Males had a median income of $36,808 versus $27,086 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,846. About 7.20% of families and 11.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.00% of those under age 18 and 8.70% of those age 65 or over.
Government and politics
In recent history, Ulster County has voted Democratic. In 2004, John Kerry defeated George W. Bush by 54–43%; in 2008, Barack Obama defeated John McCain by 61–38%; in 2012, Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 60–37%; and in 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 52-41%. The county is in New York's 19th congressional district, represented by Democrat Antonio Delgado.
Ulster long had a county-scale version of a council-manager government, with the county legislature hiring a county administrator to handle executive functions. The chair of the legislature had a great deal of power and was accountable only to the voters of his own district. The only countywide elected officials were the county clerk (Nina Postupack has served since 2006), district attorney (Dave Clegg took office in 2020) and sheriff (Juan Figueroa took office in 2019).
In 2006, voters approved the first-ever county charter, changing to an elected executive branch. Two years later, Michael P. Hein, the last appointed county administrator, became Ulster's first elected county executive. In early 2019, Hein resigned to accept Governor Andrew Cuomo's appointment as commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. Deputy County Executive Adele Reiter succeeded him as acting county executive until a special election was held in April 2019.
On April 30, 2019, Democrat Patrick K. Ryan was elected in a special election by a margin of 74%-26%. He was sworn in as Ulster County's second County Executive on June 7, 2019.
Legislative authority is vested in the County Legislature, which consists of 23 members elected from individual districts, as directed by a county charter reapportionment mandate starting in late 2010. Of the members of the County Legislature, 16 are part of the Democratic Caucus (15 affiliated with the Democratic Party and 1 unaffiliated), and 7 are part of the Republican Caucus (all 7 are affiliated with the Republican Party).
Ulster County contains a large part of Catskill Park and the Catskill Forest Preserve. The former Delaware and Hudson Canal brought Pennsylvania coal to Kingston on the Hudson. Former Orleans band member John Hall served in the Ulster County legislature before moving to the 19th Congressional District to run for Congress.
Ulster County has continued to be a popular vacation destination for many decades. The County is home to many outdoor landscapes, including the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River, Minnewaska State Park, Catskill Park, Shawangunk Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge. Each offers various recreation opportunities, including hiking, bicycling, skiing, horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing, hunting and fishing.
The County also includes more than of rail trails along the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, and O&W Rail Trail. The Walkway Over the Hudson, the world's longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge which spans the Hudson River, is connected within Ulster County trails.
Ulster County has also played a role in some significant moments in U.S. history. The Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston, New York is where, in early 1777, American colonists met to ratify the New York Constitution.
The Ulster County Fair has been held in New Paltz for many years and is promoted as "The Best Six Days of Summer". County run recreation areas include the Ulster County Pool in New Paltz and the Ulster Landing Park in Saugerties.
Since 2016, Kingston Stockade FC, a semi-professional soccer team that plays in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), has been based in Kingston and plays its home matches at Dietz Stadium.
Also since 2015, the Saugerties Stallions, a collegiate summer baseball league team that plays in the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL), have been based in Saugerties and play their home games at Cantine Field. The Stallions are the reigning league champions, having won the 2021 PGCBL Championship.
The New York State Thruway (I-87) runs north–south through the county, carrying traffic between New York City and Albany and its surroundings.
NY 55, NY 52, and NY 28 are all major east-west highways that run through the county, and US 209, US 9W, and NY 32 are major north-south highways.
Public transportation in Ulster County is provided by Trailways of New York to and from New York City and Albany, and along Routes 28 and 32, Ulster County Area Transit on major state and U.S. road corridors in the county, and by Kingston Citibus in Kingston.
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Ulster County, NY, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.