Ulster County, New York

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Ulster County, New York
Mohonk Mountain House 2011 View of Mohonk Guest Rooms from One Hiking Trail FRD 3205.jpg
Flag of Ulster County, New York
Seal of Ulster County, New York
Map of New York highlighting Ulster County
Location in the U.S. 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 1,124 sq mi (2,911 km2)
 • Water 37 sq mi (96 km2), 3.1%
 • (2010) 182,493
 • Density 162/sq mi (63/km²)
Congressional district 19th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.co.ulster.ny.us

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

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


File:Beers Atlas Page018-019.jpg
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 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.[3]


Lake Minnewaska

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total 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.[4]

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.

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 29,370
1800 24,855 −15.4%
1810 26,576 6.9%
1820 30,934 16.4%
1830 36,550 18.2%
1840 45,822 25.4%
1850 59,384 29.6%
1860 76,381 28.6%
1870 84,075 10.1%
1880 85,838 2.1%
1890 87,062 1.4%
1900 88,422 1.6%
1910 91,769 3.8%
1920 74,979 −18.3%
1930 80,155 6.9%
1940 87,017 8.6%
1950 92,621 6.4%
1960 118,804 28.3%
1970 141,241 18.9%
1980 158,158 12.0%
1990 165,304 4.5%
2000 177,749 7.5%
2010 182,493 2.7%
Est. 2014 180,445 [5] −1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[10] of 2010, 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 John Kerry defeated George W. Bush by 54–43%, in 2008 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.[11]

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.[12] 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.

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 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 leading role in highly 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.


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

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.


Ulster County, New York




Census-designated places


See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 13, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "National Historic Landmarks Program – Lake Mohonk Mountain House". National Park Service. Retrieved December 7, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Brooks, Paul (November 5, 2008). "Hein wins big as first Ulster County executive". Times-Herald Record. Ottaway Community Newspapers. Retrieved 2008-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Ulster reapportionment panel to revamp Legislature. DailyFreeman.com. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.


  • Clearwater, Alphonso T. (1907). A History of Ulster County, New York. Kingston, NY: W.J. Van Deusen.
  • Fried, Marc B. (1975). The Early History of Kingston & Ulster County, NY. Marbletown, NY: Ulster County Historical Society.
  • Sylvester, Nathaniel Bartlett (1880). History of Ulster County, New York, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of its Prominent Men and Pioneers: Part Second: History of the Towns of Ulster County. Philadelphia, PA: Everts & Peck. OCLC 2385957.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Ulster County Historians (1984). The History of Ulster County, With Emphasis upon the Last 100 Years, 1883–1983. Kingston, NY: Ulster County Historians. OCLC 11345209.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Van Buren, Augustus H. (1923). A History of Ulster County Under the Dominion of the Dutch. Kingston, NY. OCLC 1131828.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Zimm, Louise Hasbrouck (1946). Southeastern New York: A History of the Counties of Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland and Putnam. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co.

External links

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