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Ulster County, New York

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Ulster County, New York

Ulster County, New York
Flag of Ulster County, New York
Seal of Ulster County, New York
Map of New York highlighting Ulster County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded 1683
Named for Ulster
Seat Kingston
Largest city Kingston
 • Total 1,161 sq mi (3,007 km2)
 • Land 1,126 sq mi (2,916 km2)
 • Water 34 sq mi (88 km2), 2.95%
 • (2010) 182,493
 • Density 162/sq mi (62.5/km²)
Congressional district 19th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website .us.ny.ulster.cowww

Ulster County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. In the 2010, the population was 182,493.[1] The county seat is Kingston.[2] The county is named for the Northern Irish province of Ulster.

Ulster County lies in the state's Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley and comprises the Kingston, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.


Ulster County in 1875

The area of present day Ulster County was called Esopus by the Dutch settlers: it was then part of the New Netherland Colony. In 1652 Thomas Chambers, a freeholder from Rensselaerwyck, purchased land at Esopus and began trading there. In 1654 Johan de Hulter, owner of 20% of the Killian van Rensselaer Company was granted a patent,together with the patents of Christoffel Davids, and Jacob Jansen Stoll, this supplies evidence of the first permanent settlement, that grows into the village of Wiltwijck, later: Kingston. In 1683, the Duke of York created twelve counties in his province. Ulster County was one of them. Its boundaries at that time included the present Sullivan County, and portions of the present Delaware, Orange, and Greene Counties.

In 1777, the capital of New York State (the first state capital of independent New York) was established at Kingston, though it was subsequently moved to Kerhonkson[3] when the British burned that city.

In 1797, portions of Otsego and Ulster Counties were split off to create Delaware County.

In 1798, the southernmost towns in Ulster County were moved into Orange County, to compensate Orange for breaking away the southernmost portion of that county in order 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 more affluent families of the County to form the 139th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

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


Lake Minnewaska

Ulster County is in the southeast part of New York State, south of Albany, immediately west of the Hudson River. Much of the county is within the Catskill Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge. Ulster County has Minnewaska State Park, Mohonk Preserve, Sundown State Park, VerNooykill State Forest, Witches Hole State Forest, and Shawangunk Ridge State Forest and Sam's Point Preserve, which includes rare dwarf pine trees and VerKeerderkill falls.

The 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.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,161 square miles (3,010 km2), of which 1,126 square miles (2,920 km2) is land and 34 square miles (88 km2) (2.9%) is water.[5]

The New York State Thruway Interstate 87 runs north–south through the county, carrying traffic to and from New York City and its surroundings.


There are several hamlets located within each town.

Adjacent counties

National protected area


As of the census[7] of 2009, there were 181,440 people, 67,499 households, and 43,536 families residing in the county. 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 racial makeup of the county, 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 out of which 30.70% had children under the age of 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.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.50% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 24.70% from 45 to 64, and 13.30% who were 65 years of age 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 median income for a household in the county was $42,551, and the median income for a family 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 Barack Obama defeated John McCain by 61–38%, and in 2012 Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 60–37%. The county is currently being represented by Republican Chris Gibson in Congress, and is located in New York's 19th congressional district.

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 only accountable to the voters of his own district. The only countywide elected officials were the district attorney, Holley Carnright, 2008 to present and sheriff, Paul Van Blarcum, 2007 to present.

In 2006, voters approved the first-ever county charter, changing to an elected executive branch. Two years later, Mike Hein, the last appointed county administrator, became Ulster's first elected county executive.[8]

Ulster County Executives
Name Party Term
Michael P. Hein Democratic January 1, 2009 – 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.[9] The current composition of the Legislature is as follows (13 Democrats, 9 Republicans, and 1 Conservative who caucuses with the Republicans):

Ulster County Legislature
District Legislator Party Residence
1 Mary Wawro Conservative Saugerties
2 Chris Allen Democratic Saugerties
3 Dean Fabiano Republican Glasco
4 James Maloney Republican Kingston
5 Peter Loughran Democratic Kingston
6 David Donaldson Democratic Kingston
7 Jeanette Provenzano Democratic Kingston
8 Carl Belfiglio Republican Esopus
9 Herbert Litts lll Republican Highland
10 Mary Beth Maio, assistant minority leader Republican Highland
11 Richard Gerentine Republican Marlboro
12 Kevin Roberts Republican Plattekill
13 Kenneth Ronk Jr. minority leader Republican Wallkill
14 Craig Lopez Republican Pine Bush
15 Thomas Briggs, assistant majority leader Democratic Ellenville
16 Tracey Bartels Democratic Gardiner
17 Kenneth Wishnick Democratic New Paltz
18 Richard Parete Democratic Accord
19 Manna Jo Greene Democratic Cottekill
20 Hector Rodriguez Democratic New Paltz
21 Lynn Archer Democratic Accord
22 John Parete, chairman Democratic Boiceville
23 Donald Gregorius majority leader Democratic Woodstock


Ashokan Reservoir from Wittenberg
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.

The former Ulster and Delaware Railroad runs through Ulster County. There are three railroad attractions in the county on this corridor: Trolley Museum of New York, Catskill Mountain Railroad, and Empire State Railway Museum.

Once a popular vacation destination, Ulster county was home to many Borscht Belt resorts which offered guests entertainment, fine dining, and leisure activities in a luxurious setting. Formerly known as "The Granit", the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in Kerhonkson is last of these hotels remaining in operation.

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.


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

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Kerhonkson, New York. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  4. ^ "National Historic Landmarks Program – Lake Mohonk Mountain House". National Park Service. Retrieved December 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved October 13, 2013. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  8. ^ Brooks, Paul (November 5, 2008). "Hein wins big as first Ulster County executive".  
  9. ^ Ulster reapportionment panel to revamp Legislature. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.


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