Poughkeepsie Town

Dutchess County, New York

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Poughkeepsie Town Hall is located at 1 Overcocker Road, Poughkeepsie NY 12603.
Phone: 845‑485‑3701.


Beginnings [1]

The Town and City of Poughkeepsie share a common history. Until the 17th Century, Wappinger Indians were the principal inhabitants of the area. Historians agree that the name "Poughkeepsie" comes from the Wappinger phrase for a spring where Indians gathered and wove lodges from the abundant cat-tail reeds, and that it refers to a place on the banks of the Hudson River near what is now the Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery, just south of the City. The Indians called their meeting place "uppuqui" (oo-poo-kee) meaning "lodge covered" plus "ipis" meaning "little water" plus "ing" meaning "place": the Reed-covered Lodge by the Little Water Place. Uppuqui-ipis-ing became Apokeepsing, which became Poughkeepsing, and finally Poughkeepsie.

In the year 1788, Poughkeepsie Township was formed by an act of the legislature. In 1799 the Village of Poughkeepsie was incorporated, its boundaries the same as the existing City boundaries with the exception of the Eighth Ward, which was annexed by the City from the Town in 1929.

As the Village grew in stature and its population increased, agitation for a city charter commenced. By 1855, the Village's resident numbered 12,763 compared to the Town's 3,110. Yet the Village was dependent upon the Town for protection, new streets, and schools. The secession took place in 1855 and the Village became a city.

Following the separation, the Town continued to grow. Vassar College was established in 1861 and opened in 1865 with 353 students. The College contributed greatly to the development of the Arlington District, then called Bulls Head, a name originating from the cattle auctions held there. The name was subsequently changed to East Poughkeepsie and later Arlington.

  1. Town Board of the Town of Poughkeepsie, Poughkeepsie Town Plan and Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement, 2007, www.townofpoughkeepsie.com, accessed November, 2009.

Nearby Towns: Pleasant Valley Town • Poughkeepsie City • Wappinger Town • Wappingers Falls Vlg •

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