Ulster County
The Lake Mohonk Mountain House on Shawangunk Ridge
Flag of Ulster County
Official seal of Ulster County
Map of New York highlighting Ulster 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.
Coordinates: 41°53′N 74°16′W / 41.89°N 74.26°W / 41.89; -74.26
Country United States
State New York
Founded1683
Named forUlster
SeatKingston
Largest cityKingston
Government
 • County ExecutivePat Ryan (D)
Area
 • Total1,161 sq mi (3,010 km2)
 • Land1,124 sq mi (2,910 km2)
 • Water37 sq mi (100 km2)  3.1%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total181,851[1]
 • Density161.8/sq mi (62.5/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district19th
Websitewww.co.ulster.ny.us

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.[2] The county seat is Kingston.[3] The county is named after the Irish province of Ulster.

History

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Ulster County in 1875
Ulster County in 1875

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.

Civil War

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:

Twentieth century

The Lake Mohonk Mountain House on Shawangunk Ridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.[4]

Geography

Lake Minnewaska
Lake Minnewaska

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 1,161 square miles (3,010 km2), of which 1,124 square miles (2,910 km2) is land and 37 square miles (96 km2) (3.1%) is water.[5]

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 4,180 feet (1,270 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level along the Hudson River.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
179029,370
180024,855−15.4%
181026,5766.9%
182030,93416.4%
183036,55018.2%
184045,82225.4%
185059,38429.6%
186076,38128.6%
187084,07510.1%
188085,8382.1%
189087,0621.4%
190088,4221.6%
191091,7693.8%
192074,979−18.3%
193080,1556.9%
194087,0178.6%
195092,6216.4%
1960118,80428.3%
1970141,24118.9%
1980158,15812.0%
1990165,3044.5%
2000177,7497.5%
2010182,4932.7%
2020181,851−0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2020[2]

As of the census[10] 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

United States presidential election results for Ulster County, New York[11]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 37,590 38.59% 57,970 59.51% 1,860 1.91%
2016 35,239 41.32% 44,597 52.29% 5,454 6.39%
2012 29,759 37.37% 47,752 59.97% 2,115 2.66%
2008 33,300 37.35% 54,320 60.93% 1,529 1.72%
2004 37,821 43.12% 47,602 54.27% 2,289 2.61%
2000 33,447 42.75% 38,162 48.78% 6,628 8.47%
1996 26,212 35.49% 35,852 48.55% 11,787 15.96%
1992 29,223 36.16% 32,886 40.69% 18,712 23.15%
1988 41,173 56.75% 30,744 42.37% 640 0.88%
1984 47,372 63.93% 26,445 35.69% 285 0.38%
1980 36,709 55.01% 22,179 33.24% 7,838 11.75%
1976 35,353 53.44% 30,190 45.64% 610 0.92%
1972 46,883 68.51% 21,371 31.23% 179 0.26%
1968 34,798 57.62% 20,886 34.59% 4,703 7.79%
1964 23,749 40.03% 35,486 59.82% 91 0.15%
1960 36,418 61.20% 23,017 38.68% 67 0.11%
1956 43,034 76.36% 13,321 23.64% 0 0.00%
1952 36,141 69.44% 15,733 30.23% 171 0.33%
1948 28,941 64.30% 14,441 32.08% 1,630 3.62%
1944 26,703 61.02% 16,943 38.72% 117 0.27%
1940 27,186 57.00% 20,403 42.78% 107 0.22%
1936 24,678 55.32% 19,118 42.85% 815 1.83%
1932 21,002 52.87% 18,092 45.55% 627 1.58%
1928 25,418 62.46% 14,200 34.89% 1,077 2.65%
1924 20,048 63.32% 9,361 29.57% 2,251 7.11%
1920 19,001 66.41% 8,759 30.61% 852 2.98%
1916 10,734 56.58% 7,807 41.15% 430 2.27%
1912 7,485 38.33% 8,510 43.58% 3,531 18.08%
1908 10,475 53.06% 8,560 43.36% 705 3.57%
1904 11,356 53.13% 9,516 44.52% 501 2.34%
1900 11,348 53.68% 9,349 44.22% 444 2.10%
1896 11,100 56.31% 8,140 41.30% 471 2.39%
1892 9,450 46.29% 9,808 48.04% 1,157 5.67%
1888 10,825 49.57% 10,487 48.02% 526 2.41%
1884 9,929 48.71% 9,870 48.42% 586 2.87%


In recent history, Ulster County has voted Democratic. In 2004, John Kerry defeated George W. Bush, 54%–43%; in 2008, Barack Obama defeated John McCain, 61%–37%; in 2012, Obama defeated Mitt Romney, 60%–37%; in 2016, Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump, 52%–41%; and in 2020, Joe Biden defeated Trump, 60%–39%. 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.[12] In early 2019, Hein resigned to accept Governor Andrew Cuomo's appointment as commissioner of the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance.[13] 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%.[14] He was sworn in as Ulster County's second County Executive on June 7, 2019.[15]

Ulster County Executives
Name Party Term
Michael P. Hein Democratic January 1, 2009 – February 11, 2019
Adele Reiter Democratic February 11, 2019 – June 7, 2019 (Acting)
Patrick K. Ryan Democratic June 7, 2019 – present

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.[16] 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).

2022-2023 Ulster County Legislature
District Legislator Party Caucus Residence
1 Aaron Levine Democratic Democratic Saugerties
2 Joe Maloney Democratic Democratic Saugerties
3 Dean Fabiano Republican Republican Glasco
4 Brian Cahill Democratic Democratic Ulster
5 Abe Uchitelle, Deputy Majority Leader Democratic Democratic Kingston
6 Phil Erner Democratic Democratic Kingston
7 Peter Criswell Democratic Democratic Kingston
8 Laura Petit Democratic Democratic Esopus
9 Herbert Litts III Republican Republican Highland
10 Gina Hansut Republican Republican Highland
11 Thomas Corcoran, Jr. Republican Republican Marlborough
12 Kevin Roberts Republican Republican Plattekill
13 Kenneth Ronk Jr., Minority Leader Republican Republican Wallkill
14 Craig Lopez, Deputy Minority Leader Republican Republican Pine Bush
15 John Gavaris Democratic Democratic Ellenville
16 Tracey Bartels, Chair Unaffiliated Democratic Gardiner
17 Megan Sperry Democratic Democratic Rifton
18 Eric Stewart Democratic Democratic Accord
19 Manna Jo Greene Democratic Democratic Cottekill
20 Eve Walter, Vice Chair Democratic Democratic New Paltz
21 Chris Hewitt Democratic Democratic Kerhonkson
22 Kathy Nolan Democratic Democratic Mount Tremper
23 Jonathan Heppner, Majority Leader Democratic Democratic Woodstock

Recreation

Ashokan Reservoir from Wittenberg
Ashokan Reservoir from Wittenberg
A cow at the Ulster County Fair
A cow at the Ulster County Fair

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 40 miles (64 km) 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.[17]

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.[18]

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.[19]

Transportation

A shield assembly of NY 55, US 44, and US 9W after the Mid-Hudson Bridge
A shield assembly of NY 55, US 44, and US 9W after the Mid-Hudson Bridge

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, by Ulster County Area Transit on major state and U.S. road corridors in the county, and by Kingston Citibus in Kingston.

Major Roadways

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.

Communities

See also: Timeline of town creation in the Hudson Valley

Ulster County, New York

City

Towns

Villages

Census-designated places

Hamlets

See also

References

  1. ^ "US Census 2020 Population Dataset Tables for New York". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Ulster County, New York". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "National Historic Landmarks Program – Lake Mohonk Mountain House". National Park Service. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  11. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org.
  12. ^ Brooks, Paul (November 5, 2008). "Hein wins big as first Ulster County executive". Times-Herald Record. Ottaway Community Newspapers. Retrieved November 21, 2008.
  13. ^ Doxsey, Patricia (January 4, 2019). "Ulster County Executive Michael Hein leaving to take state post". Daily Freeman. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  14. ^ Doxsey, Patricia (April 30, 2019). "Democrat Ryan coasts to victory in Ulster County executive special election". Daily Freeman. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  15. ^ Doxsey, Patricia (June 7, 2019). "Ryan sworn in as Ulster County executive, promises to lead with 'bold vision'". Daily Freeman. Retrieved February 28, 2020.
  16. ^ Ulster reapportionment panel to revamp Legislature. DailyFreeman.com. Retrieved on August 9, 2013.
  17. ^ "Ulster County Rails and Trails | Ulster County". ulstercountyny.gov. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  18. ^ "Kingston Stockade FC". Kingston Stockade FC. Retrieved February 8, 2022.
  19. ^ "Saugerties Stallions Win 2021 PGCBL Championship Series". Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League. August 3, 2021. Retrieved January 23, 2022.

Bibliography

Coordinates: 41°53′N 74°16′W / 41.89°N 74.26°W / 41.89; -74.26