Poughkeepsie, a city and the capital of Dutchess co., New York, on the E. bank of the Hudson river, and on the Poughkeepsie, Hartford, and Boston and the Hudson River railroads, 75 m. N. of New York and 70 m. below Albany; pop. in 1860, 14,726; in 1870, 20,080, of whom 4,425 were foreigners. The greater portion of the town is on a table land from 150 to 200 ft. above the river. It is regularly laid out, with pleasantly shaded streets, and has good public buildings and many elegant residences. It is lighted with gas, and has a line of street railroad. A cemetery of 54 acres has been laid out near the southern limits. About 2 m. E. of the city are the buildings and grounds (200 acres) of Yassar college for young ladies. (See Yassae College.) About 2 m. N. of the city, on an eminence overlooking the Hudson, are the large and imposing buildings of the Hudson river state hospital for the insane, unfinished, though partly occupied, and destined to be one of the largest in the country. The grounds comprise 300 acres. Poughkeepsie is connected in summer with New York and Albany by lines of steamers, and there is a steam ferry across the river to New Paltz. An important trade is carried on with the rural portions of Dutchess co., and the manufacturing interests are extensive.
There are three iron founderies, two iron furnaces, a rolling mill, two ship yards and dry docks, several breweries, tanneries, and manufactories of agricultural implements, carpets, carriages, chairs, cooperage, cordage, dyestuffs, files, edge tools, glazed paper, gloves, hardware, pins, shoes, soap and candles, spring beds, etc. The city has six national banks, with an aggregate capital of $1,585,000, a savings bank, and an insurance company. It is divided into six wards, is governed by a mayor and 12 aldermen, and has a police force, fire department, and water works. The principal charitable institutions are St. Barnabas hospital, a home for the friendless,- old ladies' home, and house of industry. There are good graded public schools, including a high school department, Eastman business college, and about 15 private schools and academies. Three daily and six weekly newspapers are published. The city library, free to all, contains about 8,500 volumes, and has good .reading rooms. The young men's Christian association has also a large building, with reading rooms, etc, free to all.
The number of churches is 20, viz.: 1 Baptist, 1 Congregational, 3 Episcopal, 2 Friends', 1 German Lutheran, 1 German Methodist, 1 Jewish, 4 Methodist Episcopal (1 colored), 1 Presbyterian, 2 Eeformed, and 3 Roman Catholic (1 German). - Poughkeepsie was originally settled by several Dutch families in 1690-1700. In 1778 the legislature was convened by Gov. Clinton at the Yan Kleeck house, a stone building pierced for musketry and used for defence, and among other acts gave its assent to the articles of confederation; and it was here on July 26, 1788, that the national constitution was ratified in the state convention assembled for its consideration. Poughkeepsie received a city charter in 1854. A railroad bridge over the Hudson here is projected.