Ulster County, New York
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Ulster County, New York

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
State New York
Named forUlster
Largest cityKingston
 o County ExecutivePatrick K. Ryan
 o Total1,161 sq mi (3,010 km2)
 o Land1,124 sq mi (2,910 km2)
 o Water37 sq mi (100 km2)  3.1%
 o Total182,493
 o Density162/sq mi (63/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern)
 o Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
Congressional district19th

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.


Ulster County in 1875

Founding and formation

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 12 counties in his province, one of which was Ulster County. 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. It was moved to Kerhonkson after the British burned 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.[3]


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.[4]

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, 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


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% 35,239 52.3% 44,597 6.4% 5,454
2012 37.4% 29,759 60.0% 47,752 2.7% 2,115
2008 37.4% 33,300 60.9% 54,320 1.7% 1,529
2004 43.1% 37,821 54.3% 47,602 2.6% 2,289
2000 42.8% 33,447 48.8% 38,162 8.5% 6,628
1996 35.5% 26,212 48.6% 35,852 16.0% 11,787
1992 36.2% 29,223 40.7% 32,886 23.2% 18,712
1988 56.8% 41,173 42.4% 30,744 0.9% 640
1984 63.9% 47,372 35.7% 26,445 0.4% 285
1980 55.0% 36,709 33.2% 22,179 11.7% 7,838
1976 53.4% 35,353 45.6% 30,190 0.9% 610
1972 68.5% 46,883 31.2% 21,371 0.3% 179
1968 57.6% 34,798 34.6% 20,886 7.8% 4,703
1964 40.0% 23,749 59.8% 35,486 0.2% 91
1960 61.2% 36,418 38.7% 23,017 0.1% 67
1956 76.4% 43,034 23.6% 13,321 0.0% 0
1952 69.4% 36,141 30.2% 15,733 0.3% 171
1948 64.3% 28,941 32.1% 14,441 3.6% 1,630
1944 61.0% 26,703 38.7% 16,943 0.3% 117
1940 57.0% 27,186 42.8% 20,403 0.2% 107
1936 55.3% 24,678 42.9% 19,118 1.8% 815
1932 52.9% 21,002 45.6% 18,092 1.6% 627
1928 62.5% 25,418 34.9% 14,200 2.7% 1,077
1924 63.3% 20,048 29.6% 9,361 7.1% 2,251
1920 66.4% 19,001 30.6% 8,759 3.0% 852
1916 56.6% 10,734 41.2% 7,807 2.3% 430
1912 38.3% 7,485 43.6% 8,510 18.1% 3,531
1908 53.1% 10,475 43.4% 8,560 3.6% 705
1904 53.1% 11,356 44.5% 9,516 2.3% 501
1900 53.7% 11,348 44.2% 9,349 2.1% 444
1896 56.3% 11,100 41.3% 8,140 2.4% 471
1892 46.3% 9,450 48.0% 9,808 5.7% 1,157
1888 49.6% 10,825 48.0% 10,487 2.4% 526
1884 48.7% 9,929 48.4% 9,870 2.9% 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 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 district attorney (Holley Carnright has served since 2008) 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, 12 are part of the Democratic Caucus (11 affiliated with the Democratic Party and 1 unaffiliated), and 11 are part of the Republican Caucus (10 affiliated with the Republican Party and 1 affiliated with the Conservative Party).

Ulster County Legislature
District Legislator Party Caucus Residence
1 Mary Wawro Conservative Republican Saugerties
2 Joseph Maloney Democratic[a] Democratic Saugerties
3 Dean Fabiano Republican Republican Glasco
4 James Maloney Republican Republican Kingston
5 Lynn Eckert, Majority Whip Democratic Democratic Kingston
6 David Donaldson, Vice Chair Democratic Democratic Kingston
7 Brian Woltman Republican Republican Kingston
8 Laura Petit Democratic Democratic Esopus
9 Herbert Litts III Republican Republican Highland
10 Mary Beth Maio Republican Republican Highland
11 Richard Gerentine Republican Republican Marlboro
12 Kevin Roberts Republican Republican Plattekill
13 Kenneth Ronk Jr., Minority Leader Republican Republican Wallkill
14 Craig Lopez, Minority Whip Republican Republican Pine Bush
15 Rev. Julius Collins Democratic Democratic Ellenville
16 Tracey Bartels, Chairwoman Unaffiliated Democratic Gardiner
17 James Delaune Democratic Democratic New Paltz
18 Heidi Haynes Republican Republican Accord
19 Manna Jo Greene Democratic Democratic Cottekill
20 Eve Walter Democratic Democratic New Paltz
21 Lynn Archer Democratic Democratic Accord
22 Kathy Nolan Democratic Democratic Shandaken
23 Jonathan Heppner, Majority Leader Democratic Democratic Woodstock
  1. ^ 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.


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 (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.





Census-designated places


See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ "National Historic Landmarks Program - Lake Mohonk Mountain House". National Park Service. Archived from the original on November 10, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 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 2008.
  13. ^ Doxsey, Patricia (January 4, 2019). "Ulster County Executive Michael Hein leaving to take state post". Daily Freeman. Retrieved 2020.
  14. ^ Doxsey, Patricia (April 30, 2019). "Democrat Ryan coasts to victory in Ulster County executive special election". Daily Freeman. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ Doxsey, Patricia (June 7, 2019). "Ryan sworn in as Ulster County executive, promises to lead with 'bold vision'". Daily Freeman. Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ Ulster reapportionment panel to revamp Legislature. DailyFreeman.com. Retrieved on August 9, 2013.


  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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)
  • 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

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

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