A Little History
How far back should we go? To the point when Kingston was on an ocean floor forming the limestone Dutch settlers would use 70 million years later to build their houses? To when our little plot shared the same platelet with Europe? Or to more recent times when we were above water and had settled down by what would someday be called the Hudson River and early people walked along the edge of our nearby glacial lake? There must have been many cataclysms and events deemed historic by the earlier humans who walked our small crust of the earth's surface. So far, our archeologists have found only a few small records. In a later edition of these pages, we hope to show them to you.
As it is, the Kingston history we usually think of begins with the Dutch, who created the third settlement in the Dutch colony (after Manhattan and Fort Orange, later Albany). After some serious trouble with the earlier inhabitants, Indians of the Esopus tribe, the settlement got down to a hundred years or so of serious farming, which eventually led to some trouble with the British. In the early 19th century, Kingston changed from a regional farm town to a new transportation center and gradually became a center of industry, particularly of natural resources that could be used to build cities (cement, bricks, bluestone.) A neighboring village, Rondout, developed a mile away and eventually merged with Kingston.
In the early 20th century, Kingston's industries faltered as the railroad and highway provided new routes for coal and Portland cement replaced Rosendale cement and, to a large extent, bluestone. Over time, new industries came to Kingston, including garment-making, small machine manufacturing, and eventually, with the arrival of IBM, computer manufacturing. In the late 20th century, Kingston finds itself once again creating new industries in such varied products as solar-powered boats, leather knapsacks and handbags, hand-crafted furniture, and multimedia packages.
For more information go to the Kingston Arts Commission.