The City of Peekskill is a distinct scenic community along the Hudson River, located in an area where the river winds through the Bear Mountain highlands. The riverfront of the City of Peekskill was historically one of intense commercial and industrial activity for most of the 19th century. The City's Waterfront served as a port for the shipping and receiving of raw materials and finished goods. The City's river port thrived and provided an economic engine for the City and a region as a whole. Its manufacturing base operated well into the late 1900s. According to the 2000 census, the population is 22,441 covering about 5.5 square miles.
History: The first European person recorded to set foot on this territory was Jan Peeck. The Peekskill region, and specifically what is now Annsville, was first identified by European immigrants as "Peeck's Kill". On various sloop journeys to this region at about 1650, Peeck exchanged various manufactured items with native tribal people located along Peekskill Bay, or what is now Annsville Creek, and possibly some distance up Peekskill Hollow Brook. The resident people identified themselves as "Sackhoes," according to the phonetic transcription from their language. While once unofficially known as Jan Peeck's Creek, it was the formal transfer of itemized useful products by the Europeans to the Sachoes and their tribal representatives in 1685 that created Peek's Kill as a distinct geographic location, recognized as a land deed. The written deed transfer of land was the Ryck's Patent. The document was signed with appropriate marks by four members of the Sachoes tribe, and the English governor at that time. In return, six New Amsterdam residents representing three families were given title to 1,800 acres. Peekskill then became a territory distinct from the surrounding Van Cortlandt lands.
Peekskill was a significant Revolutionary War military base, and at times used as a headquarters for American army officers in the Hudson Valley from 1776 through 1782. The area was important for its hilly defensive location, its views of the bay, and its industries applied to military purposes. The overlook locale, now identified as "Fort Hill" in Peekskill, was the site of five large barracks buildings and two redoubts. An average of 1,000 Continental soldiers were stationed at Camp Peekskill on and off through the eight years of war.
This New York State legislative act established Peekskill's working government as a Village within the Town of Cortlandt. The 1816 law allowed Peekskill to elect five Trustees, have elections and to raise taxes. The Hudson River Railroad appeared at Peekskill in 1849 and by 1850 was connected between New York City and Albany. Some of the steamboat passenger and freight services continued into the 1900s. Peekskill was developing in an industrial style similar to other Hudson River communities such as Yonkers, Nyack, Haverstraw. Ossining, Cold Spring and Newburgh.
Peekskill also served as an "Underground Railroad" station in the system that helped refugees from slavery. Spearheaded by Harriet Tubman, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church on Park Street was established in 1852. Prominent African-American property owners before the time of the Civil War, Hawley and Harriet Green were active residents active in the Abolitionist cause, and allowed their house at 1112 Main Street to be used as an Underground Railroad safehouse. Point of Interest: The prominent abolitionist preacher, Henry Ward Beecher, lived at his East Main Street mansion. His sister, Harriet Beecher Stowe, wrote "Uncle Tom's Cabin," a powerful anti-slavery work.
Peekskill officially became an incorporated City on July 29, 1940 and a legal separation from the Town of Cortlandt.
Government : The Common Council comprised of the Mayor who presides over the Council and six Council Persons, is the legislative body of the City of Peekskill. All Council members, with the exception of the Mayor, are elected to serve a term of four years. The Mayor is elected to serve a two-year. A City Manager actually carries out the day to day work and directives of the Common Council.
Post Office: The City of Peekskill has its own post office and zip code.
Schools: Most residents of the City of Peekskill attend the Peekskill City School District.
Business: The City of Peekskill has a thriving and active business community and is served by the Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce. In addition to Peekskill, the Chamber also serves the neighboring communities of Cortlandt, Putnam Valley, Montrose, Buchanan, Croton-on-Hudson, and Verplanck.
Transportation: Peekskill residents are serviced by the Metro North Train Hudson Line Peekskill station. Peekskill is also easily accessible to Route 9A and the Taconic Parkway for an easy commute by car to New York City.
Where is Peekskill
The City of Peekskill is located in the north west corner of Westchester County and is one of Westchester's historic River towns. It is bordered by the Hudson River on the west, the Village of Buchanan on the south, Cortlandt on the east and Putnam County on the north..Also the Bear Mountain State Bridge extending over the Hudson River connects Peekskill to Rockland County.