|o Total||58.82 sq mi (152.35 km2)|
|o Land||57.16 sq mi (148.04 km2)|
|o Water||1.66 sq mi (4.31 km2)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||69.07/sq mi (26.67/km2)|
During the late 17th century, the area was a staging ground for raids between English and French colonies. Whitehall was first called "Skenesborough" in 1759 when it was settled by a land grant to a British officer, Philip Skene (1725-after 1785), who later returned to England, and who was subsequently declared an enemy of the State of New York for his land dealings. During the French and Indian War, the town was one of two major routes connecting the English and French Colonies.
During the American Revolution, the village, Skenesborough, was captured by American forces in 1774. Benedict Arnold under Philip Schuyler built a fleet of vessels to confront British forces at Valcour Island (thus the claim that this is the birthplace of the U.S. Navy). The surviving American vessels returned here to be destroyed in order to keep them from falling into enemy hands. The next year John Burgoyne led his forces through this area en route to the Battle of Saratoga. After the war, the town's name was changed to Whitehall.
During the War of 1812 the area was used to build ships to battle British forces on Lake Champlain, culminating at the Battle of Plattsburgh. In 1823, the Champlain Canal was completed to Whitehall. The Rensselaer and Saratoga Railroad was extended to Whitehall in 1848. During the second half of the 19th Century, the silk industry grew important in the town.
Due to the actions in 1775-76, the legislature of the State of New York in 1960 declared Whitehall to be the birthplace of the United States Navy.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 58.8 square miles (152.2 km²), of which, 57.6 square miles (149.2 km²) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (3.0 km²) of it (1.94%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,035 people, 1,611 households, and 1,098 families residing in the town. The population density was 70.0 people per square mile (27.0/km²). There were 1,877 housing units at an average density of 32.6 per square mile (12.6/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.99% White, 0.20% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.55% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.21% of the population.
There were 1,611 households out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 10.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.8% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the town, the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 15.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $35,734, and the median income for a family was $43,590. Males had a median income of $35,365 versus $20,861 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,831. About 10.9% of families and 12.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.6% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.