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New York Counties

There are sixty-two counties in the State of New York. The first twelve counties in New York were created immediately after the British annexation of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although two of these counties have since been abolished. The most recent county formation in New York was in 1912, when Bronx County was created from the portions of New York City that had been annexed from Westchester County.

Putnam County, New York

Putnam County Education, Geography, and HistoryPutnam County, New York Courthouse

Putnam County is a county located in the state of New York. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 99,710. The county seat is Carmel. Putnam County formed in 1812 from Dutchess County and is named for Israel Putnam, a hero in the French and Indian War and a general in the American Revolutionary War.

Putnam County is included in the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the lower Hudson River Valley. Midtown Manhattan is around a one-hour drive, and Grand Central Terminal is approximately 1 hour, 20 minute train ride from Putnam County. Putnam County is increasingly considered part of Downstate New York as the New York Metropolitan Area continually increases size.

Etymology - Origin of Putnam County Name

Named in honor of General Israel Putnam, a hero of the French and Indian War and the Revolution


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Putnam County History

Putnam County was taken from Dutchess in 1812; greatest length 21, greatest breadth 12 miles. The Highlands extend across the western part. The highest point is about 1,580 feet above the Hudson. The remainder of the county, though generally uneven, has some handsome plains, with a soil various, and some of it fertile. The mountains abound with iron ore of good quality. Butter, beef, wool, calves, lambs, sheep, fowls, and the many other species of marketing,"are produced here in great quantities for the New York market, and their returns are rapidly enriching the producer. The evidences of prosperity are everywhere visible. Within a few years the lands have doubled in value and price. The county is watered easterly and centrally by the main branches of the Croton. It is divided into six towns. (Historical Collections of the State of New York, Past and Present, John Barber, Clark, Albien & Co., 1851)

Most of the area comprising Putnam County was purchased from the Wappinger Indians by two Dutch speculators in 1691 for a "competent"sum of money. Six years later they sold it to Adolph Philipse, the son of an extremely wealthy merchant, and the land became known as Philipse Patent.

Geography: Land and Water

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

As reported by the 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

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Dutchess County (north)
  • Fairfield County, Connecticut (east)
  • Westchester County, New York (south)
  • Orange County (west)


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 Library 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.

During the year 2011 an article titled Regions Aging Schools Crumble as Finances Falter by Cathey O'Donnell and Gary Stern, was featured in a local newspaper, The Journal News, which is well known throughout the Lower Hudson Valley of Westchester County, New York. The article was about several old school buildings within the region that were in a current state of disrepair, how much it would cost to fix them and which if any might need to be demolished. The article is quoted as saying," inspection reports obtained by The Journal News that show one in three buildings in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam's 54 school districts received unsatisfactory ratings this year."

Unlike all other counties in southeastern New York, Putnam contains the campus of no college, university, or other institution of higher education.

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