West Point, New York

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West Point, New York
CDP
Aerial view of West Point and Hudson River 02 - white balanced (9614194870).jpg
Aerial view of West Point, 2013. West Point is at center on the near (western) side of the Hudson river. Highland Falls is at right; Cold Spring is at left, across the river in Putnam County.
Orange County New York incorporated and unincorporated areas West Point highlighted.svg
Location in Orange County and the state of New York.
USA New York location map.svg
Red pog.svg
West Point, New York
Location in the state of New York
Coordinates: 41°23′N73°58′W / 41.383°N 73.967°W / 41.383; -73.967 Coordinates: 41°23′N73°58′W / 41.383°N 73.967°W / 41.383; -73.967
Country United States
State New York
County Orange
Area
  Total25.1 sq mi (64.9 km2)
  Land24.3 sq mi (63.0 km2)
  Water0.7 sq mi (1.9 km2)
Population
 (2010)
  Total6,763
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
10996–10997
Area code(s) 845
FIPS code 36-80747 [1]

West Point is the oldest continuously occupied military post in the United States. Located on the Hudson River in New York, West Point was identified by General George Washington as the most important strategic position in America during the American Revolution. Until January 1778, West Point was not occupied by the military. On January 27, 1778, Brigadier General Samuel Holden Parsons and his brigade crossed the ice on the Hudson River and climbed to the plain on West Point and from that day to the present, West Point has been occupied by the United States Army. It comprises approximately 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) including the campus of the United States Military Academy, which is commonly called "West Point".

Contents

It is a Census Designated Place (CDP) located in the Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York, [2] [3] located on the western bank of the Hudson River. The population was 6,763 at the 2010 census. It is part of the New York–Newark–Jersey City, NY–NJ–PA Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark, NY–NJ–CT–PA Combined Statistical Area.

History

West Point (then Fort Clinton), was a fortified site during the Revolutionary War. Originally picked because of the abnormal S-curve in the Hudson River at this point, the defenses of West Point were designed by Polish military engineer Tadeusz Kościuszko, who served as a brigadier general in the Continental Army.

View of the West Point area from Fort Putnam, c. 1865. West Point, from Fort Putnam. (3990857882) crop.jpg
View of the West Point area from Fort Putnam, c. 1865.

It was manned by a small garrison of Continental Army Soldiers from early in 1776 through the end of the war. A great iron chain was laid across the Hudson at this point in 1778 in order to prevent British Navy vessels from sailing further up the Hudson River, but it was never tested by the British.

The site comprised multiple redoubts, as well as Fort Putnam, situated on a high hill overlooking the river. Named after its builder, Revolutionary War General and engineer Rufus Putnam, the fort is still preserved in its original design. [4] [5]

In perhaps the most infamous act of treason in American history, General Benedict Arnold attempted to turn the site over to the British Army in 1780 for a bribe consisting of a commission as a Brigadier General in the British Army and a cash reward of £20,000 (about $1.3M in 2009 dollars). However, Arnold's plot failed when British Major John André was captured as a spy by the Americans. Arnold received a decreased cash reward of £6,000 (roughly $350,000) but was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the British Army.

After the conclusion of the American Revolution, West Point was used as a storage facility for cannon and other military property used by the Continental Army. For two months in 1784, the United States Army consisted of only about 80 soldiers under the command of Brevet Major John Doughty at West Point.

The United States Military Academy was established at West Point in 1802 and is the nation's oldest service academy. West Point has the distinction of being the longest continuously occupied United States military installation.

In 1937, the West Point Bullion Depository was constructed; in 1988, it became the West Point Mint, as a branch of the United States Mint. [6]

Geography and climate

West Point is located at 41° 23′ N 73° 58' W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 25.1 square miles (65 km2); 24.3 sq mi (63 km2) land and 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2) water. West Point and the contiguous village of Highland Falls, New York, are on the west bank of the Hudson River.

West Point has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are cold with moderate snowfall. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 27.5 °F (−2.5 °C) in January to 74.1 °F (23.4 °C) in July; on average, temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) or 0 °F (−18 °C) occur on 17 and 1.4 days of the year, respectively. The average annual precipitation is approximately 50.5 inches (1,280 mm), which is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year; snow averages 35 inches (89 cm) per season, although this total may vary considerably from year to year. Extremes in temperature range from 106 °F (41 °C) on July 22, 1926 down to −17 °F (−27 °C) on February 9, 1934.

Looking north on the Hudson River from West Point (Seth Eastman, 1875) West point painting.jpg
Looking north on the Hudson River from West Point (Seth Eastman, 1875)

Demographics

View of West Point from the eastern shore of the Hudson River West Point On Hudson.JPG
View of West Point from the eastern shore of the Hudson River

As of the census [1] of 2010 there were 6,763 people, and 685 households residing in the CDP. The population density was 293.4 per square mile (113.3/km2). There were 1,044 housing units at an average density of 42.9/sq mi (16.6/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 82.31% White, 9.09% African American, 0.50% Native American, 3.35% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.64% from other races, and 2.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.56% of the population.

There were 685 households out of which 75.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 87.8% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.7% were non-families. 5.4% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.69.

The age distribution is 16.7% under the age of 18, 51.2% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 3.8% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females, there were 207.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 259.7 males. All of these statistics are typical for military bases.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $56,516, and the median income for a family was $56,364. About 2.0% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Notable people

Transportation

U.S. Route 9W, combined with New York State Route 218 run north-south through West Point. New York Route 293 also runs northeast-southwest through the post. Running through the lower portion of the town is U.S. Route 6, combined with the upper extent of the Palisades Interstate Parkway.

The New York Central Railroad well into the 1950s operated several passenger trains a day on the West Shore Railroad through the academy's Gothic style station; both the limited stop trains bound for Albany and the local trains to Newburgh and Kingston made stops at the station. Service finally ended in 1958. [9] [10]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  2. Highlands town, New York [ permanent dead link ]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 25, 2011.
  3. "West Point CDP, New York [ permanent dead link ]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 25, 2011.
  4. Hubbard, Robert Ernest. Major General Israel Putnam, pp. 157–8, McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, North Carolina, 2017. ISBN   978-1-4766-6453-8.
  5. Livingston, William Farrand. Israel Putnam: Pioneer, Ranger, and Major-General, 1718–1790, pp. 373–5, G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York and London, 1901.
  6. "The United States Mint at West Point". usmint.gov.
  7. "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved 2012-01-20.
  8. "Artists in Canada". Canadian Heritage. Government of Canada. Archived from the original on 29 March 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  9. 'Official Guide of the Railways,' December 1954, New York Central section, Table 80
  10. "Comments On The West Shore from James Knecht". Nyc.railfan.net. Retrieved 19 January 2018.