The City of Peekskill Statistics
Zip Code: 10566
Year Founded: 1816
Area: 4.37 Square Miles
Population: in 2014: 24,053 (2016 Census)
Median Household Income: $53,400 (2015)
Median Resident Age: 35.6 years old
Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2011-2015: $298,700 (Census)
Median Home Sale Price (May 2016): $250,975
The City of Peekskill History
The City of Peekskill has a population of more than 24,000 (2016 U.S. Census) and is located approximately 50 miles north of New York City. Its roots began in September of 1609 when explorer Henry Hudson, captain of the Half Moon, anchored off present day Peekskill. The first mate noted in the ship’s log that it was, indeed, “a very pleasant place to build a town.” And that is exactly what happened in the years that followed.
New Amsterdam resident Jan Peeck made the first recorded contact with the Lenape people of this area, then identified as “Sachoes.” Various agreements and merchant transactions took place, as were formalized in the Ryck’s Patent Deed of 1684. The name “Peekskill” was derived from a combination of Mr. Peek’s surname and the Dutch word for stream – “kil” or “kill.”
By the time of the American Revolution, the tiny community was already an important mill and manufacturing center. These activities convinced the Continental Army to establish its military headquarters here in 1776, long before its West Point military encampment.
The mills of Peek’s Creek provided gunpowder, leather, planks and flour. Slaughterhouses provided a food supply. The riverfront allowed transport of soldiers and supplies to other garrisons built to prevent British naval passage between Albany and New York City. The first iron-link chain was run between Bear Mountain and Anthony’s Nose in the spring of 1777.
Peekskill’s strategic terrain and industry benefited the Patriot cause, and so became tempting targets for British rauds. The worst took place in early spring of 1777, when a force of a dozen vessels overran the American defenders. A British raid in October of 1777 further damaged Peekskill’s industrial status. As a result, the Hudson Valley command for the Continental Army moved to West Point, where it remained for the rest of that war.
By the 1800’s, Peekskill was an established industrial center, known for its iron plows and stoves, plus other manufacturing products. The Binney & Smith Company, now makers of Crayola products, began as the Peekskill Chemical Company in 1864. Peekskill’s manufacturing base thrived into the late 20th Century, with the Fleischmann Company making yeast by-products under the Standard Brands corporate name.
Today, the City of Peekskill is home to major corporate endeavors, a flourishing cultural community, a great restaurant scene, and revitalized riverfront. It continues to be a strategic location for both commercial and residential development, providing a picturesque commute along the Hudson to New York City where many of its residents are employed. The music schene and ecclectic vibe has been luring folks from all over to live here. The Hudson Valley Chamber calls Peekskill home and sponsors a lot of historic and current events to help keep this town bustling.
First Up is the Peekskill Museum / Herrick House (pictured above) located at 124 Union Avenue Peekskill, NY 10566 Tel: (914) 736-0473. Website: http://peekskillmuseum.org/.