Ulster County, New York

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Ulster County
Mohonk Mountain House 2011 View of Mohonk Guest Rooms from One Hiking Trail FRD 3205.jpg
Flag of Ulster County, New York.png
Seal of Ulster County, New York.png
Map of New York highlighting Ulster County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of New York
New York in United States.svg
New York's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 41°53′N74°16′W / 41.89°N 74.26°W / 41.89; -74.26
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of New York.svg  New York
Named for Ulster
Seat Kingston
Largest cityKingston
  Total1,161 sq mi (3,010 km2)
  Land1,124 sq mi (2,910 km2)
  Water37 sq mi (100 km2)  3.1%%
  Density162/sq mi (63/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 19th
Website www.co.ulster.ny.us

Ulster County is a county 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 after the Irish province of Ulster.

County (United States) Subdivision used by most states in the United States of America

In the United States, a county is an administrative or political subdivision of a state that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs, respectively.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.

New York (state) American state

New York is a state located in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from its city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State (NYS).



Ulster County in 1875 Beers Atlas Page018-019.jpg
Ulster County in 1875

When part of the New Netherland colony, the area of present-day Ulster County was called "Esopus" by Dutch settlers after the Esopus tribe of the Lenape indigenous people. In 1652, Thomas Chambers, a freeholder from the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, 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 which, together with the patents of Christoffel Davids and Jacob Jansen Stoll, supplies evidence of the first permanent European settlement which grew into the village of Wiltwijck, which the English later named Kingston. In 1683, the Duke of York created twelve counties in his province, one of which was Ulster County. Its boundaries at that time included the present Sullivan County, and portions of the present Delaware, Orange, and Greene Counties.

New Netherland 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that was located on the East Coast of North America

New Netherland was a 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that was located on the east coast of America. The claimed territories extended from the Delmarva Peninsula to southwestern Cape Cod, while the more limited settled areas are now part of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and Connecticut, with small outposts in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands, informally Holland for the original County of Holland, is a country in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories in the Caribbean. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. In the northern parts of the country, Low Saxon is also spoken.

Esopus people

The Esopus tribe was a tribe of Lenape (Delaware) Native Americans who were native to Upstate New York, specifically the region of the Catskill Mountains. Their lands included modern-day Ulster and Sullivan counties.

In 1777, the first state capital of the independent New York State was established at Kingston, though it was subsequently moved to Kerhonkson when the British burned Kingston.

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

Otsego County, New York County in New York

Otsego County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 62,259. The county seat is Cooperstown. The name Otsego is from a Mohawk or Oneida word meaning "place of the rock."

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 to form Rockland County.

Rockland County, New York County in New York

Rockland County is the southernmost county on the west side of the Hudson River in the U.S. state of New York, part of the New York City Metropolitan Statistical Area. The county's population, as of the 2010 United States Census, was 311,687, increasing by 5.5% to a 2017 Census estimate of 328,868, making it the third-most densely populated county outside New York City within New York State. The county seat is New City. Rockland County is a suburb of New York City that borders the boroughs about 9 miles northwest of the city at their closest points, and is accessible via the New York State Thruway, after 10 exits. The name derives from "rocky land", as the area has been aptly described.

In 1800, portions of Albany and Ulster Counties were split off to create Greene County.

Albany County, New York County in New York

Albany County is a county in the state of New York, in the United States. Its northern border is formed by the Mohawk River, at its confluence with the Hudson River, which is on the east. As of the 2010 census, the population was 304,204. The county seat is Albany, the state capital of New York. As originally established by the English government in the colonial era, Albany County had an indefinite amount of land, but has had an area of 530 square miles (1,400 km2) since March 3, 1888. The county is named for the Duke of York and of Albany, who became James II of England.

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 80th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 120th New York Volunteer Infantry, and 156th New York Volunteer Infantry. Other regiments with at least one company recruited from the county were the 1st Battalion New York Volunteer Sharpshooters, 1st New York Volunteer Engineer Regiment, 7th Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry, 7th New York Veteran Infantry Regiment, 15th Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry, 20th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 25th Regiment New York Volunteer Cavalry, 25th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 56th New York Volunteer Infantry, 65th New York Volunteer Infantry, 71st New York Infantry, 102nd New York Volunteer Infantry, 132nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 168th New York Volunteer Infantry, 176th New York Volunteer Infantry, 178th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, and the 192nd New York Volunteer Infantry.

The Lake Mohonk Mountain House on Shawangunk Ridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. [3]


Lake Minnewaska Lake Minnewaska Minnewaska State Park Preserve.jpg
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
1790 29,370
1800 24,855−15.4%
1810 26,5766.9%
1820 30,93416.4%
1830 36,55018.2%
1840 45,82225.4%
1850 59,38429.6%
1860 76,38128.6%
1870 84,07510.1%
1880 85,8382.1%
1890 87,0621.4%
1900 88,4221.6%
1910 91,7693.8%
1920 74,979−18.3%
1930 80,1556.9%
1940 87,0178.6%
1950 92,6216.4%
1960 118,80428.3%
1970 141,24118.9%
1980 158,15812.0%
1990 165,3044.5%
2000 177,7497.5%
2010 182,4932.7%
Est. 2016179,225 [5] −1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census [6]
1790-1960 [7] 1900-1990 [8]
1990-2000 [9] 2010-2013 [1]

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

Presidential election results
Presidential elections results [11]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 41.3% 35,23952.3%44,5976.4% 5,454
2012 37.4% 29,75960.0%47,7522.7% 2,115
2008 37.4% 33,30060.9%54,3201.7% 1,529
2004 43.1% 37,82154.3%47,6022.6% 2,289
2000 42.8% 33,44748.8%38,1628.5% 6,628
1996 35.5% 26,21248.6%35,85216.0% 11,787
1992 36.2% 29,22340.7%32,88623.2% 18,712
1988 56.8%41,17342.4% 30,7440.9% 640
1984 63.9%47,37235.7% 26,4450.4% 285
1980 55.0%36,70933.2% 22,17911.7% 7,838
1976 53.4%35,35345.6% 30,1900.9% 610
1972 68.5%46,88331.2% 21,3710.3% 179
1968 57.6%34,79834.6% 20,8867.8% 4,703
1964 40.0% 23,74959.8%35,4860.2% 91
1960 61.2%36,41838.7% 23,0170.1% 67
1956 76.4%43,03423.6% 13,3210.0% 0
1952 69.4%36,14130.2% 15,7330.3% 171
1948 64.3%28,94132.1% 14,4413.6% 1,630
1944 61.0%26,70338.7% 16,9430.3% 117
1940 57.0%27,18642.8% 20,4030.2% 107
1936 55.3%24,67842.9% 19,1181.8% 815
1932 52.9%21,00245.6% 18,0921.6% 627
1928 62.5%25,41834.9% 14,2002.7% 1,077
1924 63.3%20,04829.6% 9,3617.1% 2,251
1920 66.4%19,00130.6% 8,7593.0% 852
1916 56.6%10,73441.2% 7,8072.3% 430
1912 38.3% 7,48543.6%8,51018.1% 3,531
1908 53.1%10,47543.4% 8,5603.6% 705
1904 53.1%11,35644.5% 9,5162.3% 501
1900 53.7%11,34844.2% 9,3492.1% 444
1896 56.3%11,10041.3% 8,1402.4% 471
1892 46.3% 9,45048.0% 9,8085.7% 1,157
1888 49.6%10,82548.0% 10,4872.4% 526
1884 48.7%9,92948.4% 9,8702.9% 586

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 Barack Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 60–37%, and in 2016 Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 52-41%. The county is located entirely 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 only accountable to the voters of his own district. The only countywide elected officials were the district attorney (Holley Carnright has served 2008 to present) and sheriff (with Juan Figueroa taking office in 2019).

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. [12]

Ulster County Executives
Michael P. Hein Democratic January 1, 2009 – February 11, 2019
Adele Reiter Democratic February 11, 2019 – June 7, 2019 (Acting County Executive)
Pat Ryan Democratic June 7, 2019 – present (County Executive)

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. [13] Of the members of the County Legislature, 12 members are part of the Democratic Caucus (11 affiliated with the Democratic Party and 1 unaffiliated), and 11 members are part of the Republican Caucus (10 affiliated with the Republican Party and 1 affiliated with the Conservative Party).

Ulster County Legislature
1 Mary Wawro Conservative [lower-alpha 1] Saugerties
2 Joseph MaloneyDemocratic [lower-alpha 2] Saugerties
3 Dean FabianoRepublican Glasco
4 James MaloneyRepublican Kingston
5 Lynn Eckert, Majority Whip Democratic Kingston
6 David Donaldson, Vice Chair Democratic Kingston
7 Brian WoltmanRepublican Kingston
8 Laura PetitDemocratic Esopus
9 Herbert Litts lllRepublican Highland
10 Mary Beth MaioRepublican Highland
11 Richard GerentineRepublican Marlboro
12 Kevin RobertsRepublican Plattekill
13 Kenneth Ronk Jr., Minority Leader Republican Wallkill
14 Craig Lopez, Minority Whip Republican Pine Bush
15 Rev. Julius CollinsDemocratic Ellenville
16 Tracey Bartels, Chairwoman Unaffiliated [lower-alpha 3] Gardiner
17 James DelauneDemocratic New Paltz
18 Heidi HaynesRepublican Accord
19 Manna Jo GreeneDemocratic Cottekill
20 Hector RodriguezDemocratic New Paltz
21 Lynn ArcherDemocratic Accord
22 Kathy NolanDemocratic Shandaken
23 Jonathan Heppner, Majority Leader Democratic Woodstock
  1. Mary Wawro is part of the Republican Caucus.
  2. Joseph Maloney initially was part of the Republican Caucus, then he joined the Democratic Caucus, and then he changed his affiliation to the Democratic Party.
  3. Tracey Bartels is part of the Democratic Caucus.


Ashokan Reservoir from Wittenberg Ashokan Reservoir from Wittenberg.jpg
Ashokan Reservoir from Wittenberg
A cow at the Ulster County Fair Cow at Ulster County Fair.JPG
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.

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.


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 32, 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

Related Research Articles

Esopus, New York Town in New York, United States

Esopus is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 9,041 at the 2010 census. The town was named after the local Indian tribe and means "high banks" in English. They were one of the Lenape (Delaware) bands, belonging to a people who ranged from western Connecticut through lower New York, western Long Island, and parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania along the Delaware River.

Rochester, Ulster County, New York Town in New York, United States

Rochester is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 7,313 at the 2010 census.

Ulster, New York Town in New York, United States

Ulster is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 12,327 at the 2010 census.

Catskill Mountains Large area in the southeastern portion of the U.S. state of New York

The Catskill Mountains, also known as the Catskills, are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains, located in southeastern New York. As a cultural and geographic region, the Catskills are generally defined as those areas close to or within the borders of the Catskill Park, a 700,000-acre (2,800 km2) forest preserve forever protected from many forms of development under New York state law.

Mohonk Preserve nature preserve in New York State

The Mohonk Preserve is a nature preserve in the Shawangunk Ridge, 90 miles (140 km) north of New York City in Ulster County, New York. The preserve has over 8,000 acres (32 km2) of cliffs, forests, fields, ponds and streams, with over 70 miles (110 km) of carriage roads and 40 miles (64 km) of trails for hiking, cycling, trail running, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding. It is also a major destination for rock climbers, hosting 50,000 climbers each year who enjoy more than 1,000 climbing routes.

Shawangunk Ridge

The Shawangunk Ridge, also known as the Shawangunk Mountains or The Gunks, is a ridge of bedrock in Ulster County, Sullivan County and Orange County in the state of New York, extending from the northernmost point of New Jersey to the Catskill Mountains. Shawangunk Ridge is the continuation of the long, easternmost ridge of the Appalachian Mountains; the ridge is known as Kittatinny Mountain in New Jersey, and as Blue Mountain as it continues through Pennsylvania. This ridge constitutes the western border of the Great Appalachian Valley.

Mohonk Mountain House United States historic place

The Mohonk Mountain House, also known as Lake Mohonk Mountain House, is an American resort hotel located on the Shawangunk Ridge in Ulster County, New York. Its location in the town of New Paltz, New York is just beyond the southern border of the Catskill Mountains, west of the Hudson River.

Esopus Creek Tributary of the Hudson River in the Catskill region of New York state

Esopus Creek is a 65.4-mile-long (105.3 km) tributary of the Hudson River that drains the east-central Catskill Mountains of the U.S. state of New York. From its source at Winnisook Lake on the slopes of Slide Mountain, the Catskills' highest peak, it flows across Ulster County to the Hudson at Saugerties. Many tributaries extend its watershed into neighboring Greene County and a small portion of Delaware County. Midway along its length, it is impounded at Olive Bridge to create Ashokan Reservoir, the first of several built in the Catskills as part of New York City's water supply system. Its own flow is supplemented 13 miles (21 km) above the reservoir by the Shandaken Tunnel, which carries water from the city's Schoharie Reservoir into the creek.

New York State Route 212 highway in New York

New York State Route 212 (NY 212) is an east–west state highway located entirely within Ulster County, New York, in the United States. It runs for 21.92 miles (35.28 km) from an intersection with NY 28 in the interior of the Catskill Park to a junction with U.S. Route 9W (US 9W) and NY 32 on the west bank of the Hudson River, providing a key interchange with the New York State Thruway along the way. The mostly rural two-lane route serves the communities of Woodstock and Saugerties while passing Cooper Lake, Kingston's reservoir. NY 212 was assigned as part of the 1930 renumbering of state highways in New York.

Snyder's Regiment of Militia was known officially as The First Regiment of Ulster County Militia. It was the first regiment of four created in Ulster County, New York as ordered by the Provincial Congress of New York. It was also referred to as the Northern Regiment since its members were from the Northern section of Ulster County towns including Kingston, New York and Saugerties, New York

Wallkill Valley Rail Trail

The Wallkill Valley Rail Trail is a 23.7-mile (38.1 km) rail trail and linear park that runs along the former Wallkill Valley Railroad rail corridor in Ulster County, New York. It stretches from Gardiner through New Paltz, Rosendale, and Ulster to the Kingston city line. The trail is separated from the Walden–Wallkill Rail Trail by two state prisons in Shawangunk, though there have been plans to bypass these facilities, and to connect the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail with other regional rail trails. The northern section of the trail forms part of the proposed Empire State Trail.

Gardiner, New York Town in New York, United States

Gardiner is a town in Ulster County, New York. The population was 5,713 at the 2010 census.

Hurley (CDP), New York CDP in New York, United States

Hurley is a hamlet in the Town of Hurley, Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 3,458 at the 2010 census.

Hurley, New York Town in New York, United States

Hurley is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 6,314 at the 2010 census.

Kingston (town), New York Town in New York, United States

Kingston is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The Town of Kingston is in the northeast part of Ulster County, north of the City of Kingston. Kingston is inside the Catskill Park. The population was 889 at the 2010 census.

New Paltz (village), New York Village in New York

New Paltz is a village in Ulster County located in the U.S. state of New York. It is about 80 miles (130 km) north of New York City and 70 miles (110 km) south of Albany. The population was 6,818 at the 2010 census.

New Paltz, New York Town in New York, United States

New Paltz is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 14,003 at the 2010 census. The town is located in the southeastern part of the county and is south of Kingston. New Paltz contains a village also with the name New Paltz. The town is named for Palz, the dialect name of the Palatinate, called Pfalz in standard German.

Saugerties (village), New York Village in New York, United States

Saugerties is a village in Ulster County, New York, United States.

Saugerties, New York Place

Saugerties is a town in Ulster County, New York, United States. The population was 19,482 at the 2010 census. The Town of Saugerties contains the Village of Saugerties in the northeast corner of Ulster County. Part of the town is inside Catskill Park.

Marlboro Mountains mountain in United States of America

The Marlboro Mountains, sometimes Marlborough Mountains, are a group of hogbacked mountains arranged in a 25-mile-long (40 km) ridge extending from Newburgh, New York to just south of Kingston, New York. Considered to be part of the Ridge and Valley Appalachians, the mountains, which reach elevations over 1,100 feet, form an imposing geologic barrier just west of the Hudson River. They subdivide the relatively flat Hudson River Valley to create the Wallkill Valley further west. Rising abruptly on their eastern flanks, the Marlboro Mountains are known for their sweeping views of the region.


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  5. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved June 9, 2017.
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  13. Ulster reapportionment panel to revamp Legislature. DailyFreeman.com. Retrieved on August 9, 2013.


Coordinates: 41°53′N74°16′W / 41.89°N 74.26°W / 41.89; -74.26