Kingston, NY, located in Ulster County, was first settled permanently around 1652 by the Dutch under the name Wiltwyck, and was one of three large Hudson River settlements in New Netherland, the other two being Beverwyck (Albany) and New Amsterdam (New York City). A trading post was established by the Dutch as early as 1614 where the Rondout Creek meets the Hudson River. The settlers began purchasing land from the Esopus, leading to tensions between the cultures, which resulted in the Esopus Wars. In 1664, the British gained control of the land and renamed it Kingston. Kingston became the capital of New York State in 1777, and that same year, British troops set fire to much of the town during the Revolutionary War. (The City still commemorates the burning each year.)
Through the 19th century, Kingston transitioned from an agricultural economy to a transportation and industrial economy, focusing on river trade, cement, bricks, and bluestone. Bluestone from the area was transported throughout the region with it contributing to notable structures including St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Brooklyn Bridge, the base of the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, the Pentagon. During this time, the town also grew as various villages, such as Rondout and Wilbur.
Today, Kingston is the current Ulster County seat and has a population of over 22,000. The city is split in three main sections: Uptown, where the Stockade District is located, Midtown, where shops, restaurants and municipal buildings including City Hall line Broadway, and the Rondout, which borders the creek. The districts in the city reflect a wide range of history and architectural styles— the Stockade District features buildings from the 1600s, such as the Senate House. Boating and river cruises are popular tourist activities at the Rondout Marina, which also includes the Hudson River Maritime Museum and the Wooden Boat Building School.
Kingston is well-regarded for its arts scene and has been a hub for makers and craftspeople. O+ Festival was founded in the city, which is an annual weekend-long event featuring art, music and a free healthcare clinic to those participating. The city is also host to a number of organizations working to build an equitable community for all including Radio Kingston, Rise Up Kingston, the Kingston Food Co-op, the YMCA Farm Project, and our own Hudson Valley Current.