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Putnam County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Yorkmarker, in the lower Hudson River Valley. Putnam county formed in 1812, when it detached from Dutchess County. , the population was 100,570. It is part of the New York Metropolitan Areamarker. The county seat is the hamlet of Carmelmarker. Putnam county was named in honor of Israel Putnam, a hero in the French and Indian War and a general in the American Revolutionary War. It is one of the most affluent counties in America, ranked 11th by median household income, and 47th by per-capita income, according to the 2000 census.


When New York Colony established its twelve counties in 1683, the present Putnam County was part of Dutchess Countymarker. Dutchess County also included two towns in the present Columbia Countymarker. Until 1713, Dutchess County was administered by Ulster County.marker

In 1609, a group of Native Americans called the Wappingers inhabited the east bank of the Hudson River. They cultivated, hunted, and fished for shellfish in the rich land of the Hudson Valley. They often encountered Dutch traders, from which they obtained goods such as alcohol and firearms.

In 1691, a group of Dutchmarker traders purchased an area of land that is now known as Putnam County from the Wappingers. Six years later the traders sold it to wealthy Dutch-American merchant Adolph Philipse, who then obtained a royal patent for land extending all the way from the Hudson to the Connecticutmarker border—an area to be known as the Philipse Patent.

In 1737, the Colonial Assembly designated the Philipse Patent as the South Precinct of Dutchess County, and the Philipses began leasing farms to immigrants from Massachusettsmarker, Connecticut, Long Islandmarker and lower Westchestermarker. After Adolph Philipse's death, the Patent was divided in 1754 into nine lots granted to three heirs: Mary Philipse, Philip Philipse, and Susannah Philipse Robinson. During the French and Indian War, many of the Wappingers went to Stockbridge, Massachusettsmarker.

Due to the increasing population of Dutchess County and the great distance from its county seat, Poughkeepsiemarker, Putnam detached from Dutchess in 1812, and created its own county. Putnam was also able to function as a separate county because of the easy transportation provided by the Hudson River. Boats transporting goods traveled up the Hudson to Putnam. Problems arose when the river froze in the winter, which resulted in little food or goods being brought to the county. To resolve that, the Philipstown Turnpike was created in 1815 as a toll road from Cold Springmarker to Connecticutmarker. The wagons that traveled the road would transport produce from eastern Putnam County and iron ore from the mines in Highland.

Putnam County played an important role in the Civil War. One third of the county's men between the ages of 15 and 55 served in the military at the time of the war. During the post-Civil War years, industry and agriculture suffered losses. Iron, which was produced in the Highland Mountains, could be found elsewhere. Agriculture was also affected greatly. The increasing need for drinking water in New York Citymarker led the city to search the Hudson Valley for water. In Putnam County, much of the farmland were flooded to create reservoirs. The abandoning of farms, the creation of reservoirs, and the preservation of the remaining open land resulted in scenic lands that drew large amounts of tourism from New York City.

By the 20th century, improved roads brought vacationers from New York City, which led to creation of the Taconic State Parkway during the Great Depression. This brought more vacationers, which were attracted to the scenic land and the inexpensive hotels, inns, and summer houses. Putnam County's population doubled during the summer months.

After World War II , Putnam County became an exurb of New York Citymarker. Rapid development occurred as Putnam County became a bedroom community. However, the protection of Putnam county's reservoirs put a brake on development, as much of the land in the county is close to wetlands or reservoirs. Since World War Two, the county has seen the development of the Taconic State Parkway as well as several state routes. The county has also seen three county executives; David D. Bruen 1979-1986, Peter C. Alexanderson, 1987-1990 and Robert J. Bondi, 1991-present.

Government and Politics

The Historic Putnam County Courthouse (1814)
Governmental operations in Putnam County are outlined in the County Charter which was approved by the voters of the County in November 1977. It is administered by a County Executive and a 9-member County Legislature. The current County Executive is Robert J. Bondi. He took the oath of office on January 1, 1991. The county executive is elected in a countywide vote. Each member of the County Legislature is elected from a district.

Prior to the Charter form of government, the County's affairs were managed by a six-member Board of Supervisors (one Supervisor from each town in the County).

County Executives

The County has had three County Executives:
Name Party Term
David D. Bruen Democrat January 1, 1979 – December 31, 1986
Peter C. Alexanderson Republican January 1, 1987 – December 31, 1990
Robert J. Bondi Republican January 1, 1991 – present.

County Legislature

The members of the County Legislature are: Tony Hay, Chairman, District 6, Vincent Tamagna, District 1, Sam Oliverio, Jr., District 2, Richard T. Othmer, Jr., District 3, Mary Conklin, District 4, Mary Ellen Odell, District 5, Daniel G. Birmingham, District 7, Dini Lobue, District 8 and Anthony S. Fusco II, District 9.

Chairs of the County Legislature

Chair Party Years Note
Ethel Forkell* Republican 1979

Robert J. Bondi Republican 1980 - 1981
Raymond M. Maguire Republican 1982 - 1983
Kevin L. Wright Republican 1984 - 1987
Joseph G. Hickey Republican 1988 - 1989
Jim Gordon Democratic 1990 - 1993
William R. Bell Republican 1994 - 1996
Arne Nordstrom Republican 1997
Michael K. Semo, Jr. Republican 1998
Tony Hay Republican 1999
Arne Nordstrom Republican 2000
Robert J. Pozzi Republican 2001 - 2002
Robert McGuigan, Jr. Republican 2003 - 2005
Daniel G. Birmingham Republican 2006 - 2007
Tony Hay Republican 2008 -

  • *The County Charter took effect on January 1, 1979 and the County Legislature was established on that day. The County Board of Supervisors was disolved on the previous day and members of the County Legislature for the year 1979 were the supervisors of each of the six towns. Ethel Forkell was Supervisor of the Town of Kent and was elected by her colleagues as the first Chair of the County Legislature.

County Courts

There are three types of general trial courts in Putnam County: the New York Supreme Court, the County Court and the Justice Courts. The Supreme Court is the trial level court of the New York State Unified Court System, which presents some confusion as the Supreme Court is the highest court of appeals in the federal system as well as in most states (the Court of Appeals is the highest court in New York State). The Supreme Court has broad authority over all categories of cases, both civil and criminal. Generally the Supreme Court in Putnam hears civil cases involving claims in excess of $25,000. While the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over criminal cases in most counties this is handled by the County Courts. In Putnam however, the Supreme Court does exercise jurisdiction over some criminal cases.

The County Court is authorized to hear all criminal cases that have occurred in the county as well as limited jurisdiction over civil cases. The County Court handles felony cases exclusively and shares jurisdiction with the town and village justice courts on misdemeanor cases and other minor offenses and violations. The County Court's jurisdiction on civil cases is limited to those involving less than $25,000.

The Historic Putnam County Courthouse is located in the town of Carmel. Built in 1814 in Greek Revival style, it is the second oldest working courthouse in New York State. Portico and pillars were added to the structure in the 1840s. It was recently extensively remodeled to preserve the structure and adapt it for use as the Surrogate’s Court.

The New Putnam County Courthouse opened on January 2, 2008. It was constructed at a cost of $22.8 million. Jury assembly, court clerks and a public law library are located on the first floor. The second floor includes a Family Court and hearing room. On all floors are judges' chambers, jury deliberation rooms, prisoner cells and conference rooms. The third floor has two courtrooms for the County Court. The Supreme Court and a law library occupy the fourth floor.

County Sheriff

The current sheriff, Donald B. Smith, was elected in 2002. The Sheriff's Department includes a Civil Bureau, patrol division, a marine unit, a motorcycle unit, a school resource unit, and a narcotics enforcement unit.


Putnam County is considered a red county. Bush won 56% of the vote to John Kerry's 42% in 2004. In 2008 John McCain won the county by a narrower majority of 54.4% to Barack Obama's 44.7%. Since 1892, Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and Lyndon Johnson in 1964 have been the only Democrats to carry Putnam County. In 2006 however it was won by Eliot Spitzer over John Faso by a margin of 58% to 39% as Spitzer won a landslide victory and Faso carried only 4 counties. Senator Hillary Clinton also won Putnam County in 2006 by a much smaller margin over John Spencer of 51% to 45%.


Putnam County is situated in the southeastern part of New York State, between the Hudson River on its west and the New Yorkmarker-Connecticutmarker border on its east.Putnam is southeast of Newburghmarker, and it is north of White Plainsmarker.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 246 square miles (638 km²), of which, 231 square miles (599 km2) of it is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) of it (6.08%) is water.The terrain of the county is generally hilly. The region of the county nearest the Hudson River is especially so, and is part of the Hudson Highlands. The highest point in Putnam County is Scofield Ridge, with four summits at approximately 1,540 feet (469 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level along the Hudson.The Hudson River, named for Henry Hudson, has provided transportation of goods from New York City, north to the Hudson Valley, throughout history.


East Branch Reservoir
Putnam County is known for its many reservoirs, part of the New York City watershed. Some of the larger include Bog Brook in Southeast; Croton Falls in Carmel and Southeast; Diverting in Southeast; East Branch in Brewster; Middle Branch in Southeast; West Branch in Kent and Carmel and Boyds Corner in Kent.

Adjacent counties

The adjacent counties include: Dutchess County, New Yorkmarker to the north; Fairfield County, Connecticutmarker to the east; Westchester County, New Yorkmarker to the south; Rockland County, New Yorkmarker to the southwest; and Orange County, New Yorkmarker to the west


The climate of Putnam County is humid continental, as is most of New York Statemarker. In the winter, bouts of cold, dry air arrive from Canadamarker, and interior sections of North America. In the summer, the Gulf Stream brings hot, moist, humid air to the county. Extratropical storms often affect the county; in the winter, Nor'easters bring heavy snow and rain, and sometimes high wind. In the summer and fall, back door cold fronts move in from the north and bring thunderstorms, sometimes severe.
Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Carmel, New York on the top and average monthly precipiation in inches on the lower section.
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Carmel 33/16 38/19 48/27 60/37 71/48 78/57 82/62 81/60 74/53 62/42 49/32 38/22
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Carmel 3.58" 3.10" 4.06" 4.44" 4.33" 4.11" 5.07" 4.09" 4.72" 4.12" 4.42" 3.86"

Towns and municipalities

There are six towns and three incorporated villages in Putnam County:


Statue in Carmel New York
Carmel is the county seat of Putnam County, with a population of 34,000. The town of Carmelmarker includes the hamlets of Carmelmarker, Carmel Hills, Field Corners, Hopkins Corners, Mahopacmarker,Mahopac Fallsmarker, Mahopac Point, Secor Corners, Tilly Foster, and West Mahopac. Carmel is along the southern border of Putnam County. Carmel is known for its historic courthouse and high school, which serves grades 9-12. Carmel was taken from Frederickstown, a town which encompassed the present towns of Kent, Patterson, and Carmel, in 1795.


Kentmarker is a town located along the northern border of Putnam with a population of 14,000. Kent contains the hamlets of Lake Carmelmarker, Kent Corners, Kent Hills, and Luddingtonville. Kent was the last remaining section of Frederickstown, after the towns of Carmel and Patterson were divided off in 1795. Frederickstown had been founded in 1788.


Patterson is a town located in the northeast area of Putnam County with a population of 12,000. Patterson, originally named Franklin, was divided from the former town of Frederickstown, in 1795. Patterson contains the hamlets of Patterson, Barnum Corners, Camp Brady, Fields Corners, Haines Corners, Haviland Hollow, Putnam Lakemarker, Steinbeck Corners, Towners, and West Patterson.


Philipstown is a town located along the western end of Putnam County with a population of 10,000. Philipstown contains the villages and hamlets of Cold Springmarker, Forsonville, Garrisonmarker, Garrison Four Corners, Glenclyffe, Manitou, McKeel Corners, Nelsonvillemarker, North Highland, and Storm King. It was founded in 1788. West Pointmarker (in Orange Countymarker) is located across the Hudson River from the village of Cold Spring.There are 2 stations on the Metro North Railroad Hudson line: One In Garrison and the other in Cold Spring.There are two public libraries in Philipstown. The Desmond-Fish Library in Garrison, NY and the Julia L. Butterfield Library in Cold Spring.


Southeast is a town located along the southern border of Putnam County with a population of 18,000. It was founded in 1788 as one of the three original towns in what would later become Putnam County. It is the second largest town in Putnam County, second only to Carmel. Southeast is located at the crossroads of Interstate highways 684 and 84, and State Routes 22 and 312 and US Highways 6 and 202. Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line has two stops that service the area, at Brewster Village and Southeast Station (formerly Brewster North) off Route 312. Southeast contains the village of Brewstermarker, and the hamlets of Brewster Heights, Deans Corners, Deforest Corners, Drewville Heights, Dykemans, Milltown, Sears Corners, and Sodom.

Putnam Valley

Putnam Valley is a town located on the southern border of Putnam County with a population of 11,000. Putnam Valley contains the hamlets of Adams Corners, Christian Corners, Gilbert Corners, Lake Peekskill, Oscawana Corners, Putnam Valley, Tompkins Corners, Sunnybrook. Putnam Valley was created in 1835 as the Town Of Quincy, taking its current name the following year. The Town was created by splitting off from Phillipstown. Putnam Valley is also home to the Clarence Fahnestock State Parkmarker, which covers much of Putnam County, and some of Dutchess County.

Cold Spring

Cold Springmarker is an incorporated village surrounded by the Town of Phillipstown and the village of Nelsonville.


Nelsonvillemarker is an incorporated village surrounded by the Town of Phillipstown and the village of Cold Spring.


Brewstermarker is an incorporated village within the Town Of Southeast.


As of the census of 2000, there were 95,745 people, 32,703 households, and 25,181 families residing in the county. The population density was 414 people per square mile (160/km²). There were 35,030 housing units at an average density of 152 per square mile (58/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.87% White, 1.63% Black or African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.24% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.67% from other races, and 1.42% from two or more races. 6.24% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 31.0% were of Italian, 21.1% Irish and 9.7% German ancestry according to Census 2000. 87.5% spoke English, 5.2% Spanish and 3.2% Italian as their first language. As of 2005 the population was estimated to be 86% non-Hispanic whites. African-Americans were now 2.6% of the population. 0.2% of the population was Native Americans. 1.9% was Asian. 9.2% of the population was Latino, representing a significant change in the ethnic make up of the county's population.

In 2000 there were 32,703 households out of which 38.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.40% were married couples living together, 8.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.00% were non-families. 18.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.27. In the county the population was spread out with 26.50% under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 32.10% from 25 to 44, 25.60% from 45 to 64, and 9.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 99.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $72,279, and the median income for a family was $82,197(these figures had risen to $84,306 and $95,145 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $53,295 versus $38,390 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,127. About 2.70% of families and 4.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.50% of those under age 18 and 7.00% of those age 65 or over.


The county has six public school districts: Brewster, Carmel, Garrison, Haldane, Mahopac, and Putnam Valley. Mahopac is the largest school district in Putnam County, educating more than 5,000 students in four elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school (1600 students).

The library system consists of eight libraries; the Brewster Public Library in Brewster; the Kent Public Library in Kent; the Reed Memorial Librarymarker in Carmel; the Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library in Cold Spring; the Alice Curtis Desmond and Hamilton Fish Library in Garrison; the Mahopac Public Library in Mahopac; the Patterson Library in Patterson and the Putnam Valley Free Library in Putnam Valley.


Route 311 in Putnam County
Putnam has two interstate highways. The east-west Interstate 84 comes in from the north near Ludingtonville, and connects to the southbound Interstate 684 in Southeast toward the Connecticut border. The Taconic State Parkway, another high-speed through road, runs north-south through central Putnam. US 9 runs north-south in the western part of the county, paralleled by NY 9D along the Hudson River. NY 22 runs north-south in the eastern part of the county. NY 301 runs east-west from Cold Springmarker to Carmelmarker. The short NY 403 connects 9 and 9D near Garrisonmarker. Three of the region's major east-west routes traverse the eastern half of the county. NY 52 enters alongside I-84 from Dutchess County, to end at US 6 south of Carmel. East of Brewster, US 6 joins US 202 and the routes leave the county and state concurrently aside the interstate.

The county's highway and facilities department maintains a number of county roads and performs snow and ice control on portions of the following numbered highways within the county: U.S. Route 6 from Westchester Countymarker line to the NY 22/U.S. Route 202 concurrency;NY 6N for the entire duration within Putnam;NY 9D from NY 301 to the Dutchess Countymarker line;NY 52 from its southern terminus to NY 311;NY 164 for its entire duration, andNY 301 for its entire duration.

Brewster train station
The county also has several passenger trains that travel through the county. The Harlem Line and the Hudson Line of the Metro-North Railroad run north-south in Putnam. The Harlem Line makes stops at Brewstermarker, Southeastmarker, and Pattersonmarker. The Hudson Line makes stops at Manitoumarker, Garrisonmarker, Cold Springmarker, and Breakneck Ridgemarker. A connection to Amtrak can be made to the south at Croton-Harmonmarker in upper Westchester Countymarker or to the north at Poughkeepsiemarker in Duchess Countymarker, both on the Hudson Line.

Until May 1958, a third commuter line (nicknamed "Old Put") operating between the Bronx and Brewster served the region. With no direct connection to Grand Central Terminal (a transfer was required in the Bronx), ridership on the line was weak compared to its counterparts. Freight service was also scant, and the line was eventually abandoned in waves between 1962 and 1980. The former railbed now serves as the South County Trailway, North County Trailway, and Putnam County Trailway rail trails.


Points of interest

Points of interest include Chuang Yen Monasterymarker, located in Kent and home to the largest Buddha statue in the Western Hemisphere as well as the only library in the United Statesmarker specializing in Buddhist history; Donald J.marker Trump State Parkmarker, a state park located in Putnam and Westchester counties; Thunder Ridge Ski Area, a small ski resort located in Patterson with 30 trails and 3 lifts; and Clarence Fahnestock State Parkmarker, a 14,000 acre (56 km2) state park named for Clarence Fahnestock containing 15 kilometers of trails for walking and hiking.


  • Putnam County gets the majority of its electricity from Indian Point Energy Centermarker electricity plant in Westchester County.
  • Putnam County gets its water supply mainly from wells, the City of New York's local reservoirs and controlled lakes, or from the Hudson River.
  • The main hospital which serves eastern Putnam County is the Putnam Hospital Center, located in Carmel. Western Putnam County is mainly served by hospitals in Dutchess or Westchester counties.

Adjacent counties

See also


  1. Putnam County Online: Historian
  2. Putnam County Visitors' Bureau
  3. "Putnam's $22.8M courthouse to open Wednesday," by Susan Elan, The Journal News, December 29, 2007
  4. Putnam County Sheriff's Office, retrieved on February 2, 2008.
  5. New York Times Electoral Map
  6. David Leip's Presidential Atlas (Historical election maps for New York)
  8. School Districts in or near Putnam County - ePodunk
  10. Mid-Hudson Library System
  11. US Nuclear Plants - Indian Point
  12. Putnam Hospital Center

External links

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