Poestenkill, New York

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Poestenkill, New York
Location in Rensselaer County and the state of New York.
Location in Rensselaer County and the state of New York.
Coordinates: 42°41′15″N 73°31′17″W / 42.68750°N 73.52139°W / 42.68750; -73.52139Coordinates: 42°41′15″N 73°31′17″W / 42.68750°N 73.52139°W / 42.68750; -73.52139
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
 • Town SupervisorDominic Jacangelo[1]
 • Total32.57 sq mi (84.37 km2)
 • Land32.35 sq mi (83.80 km2)
 • Water0.22 sq mi (0.57 km2)
928 ft (283 m)
 • Total4,530
 • Estimate 
 • Density140.41/sq mi (54.21/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)518
FIPS code36-58805
GNIS feature ID0979380

Poestenkill is a town in Rensselaer County, New York, United States. The population was 4,530 at the 2010 census. The town is southeast of Troy and is centrally located in the county.

The town is named after the Poesten Kill, an important stream in the area.[4] The phrase poesten kil (with only one l) is traditionally said to be Dutch for "foaming water" or "foaming creek".[5][6] While kil is, indeed, Dutch for "water" or "creek", Dutch dictionaries do not support the claim of poest meaning "foam".[7][8] It seems more likely that the creek was named after the nickname Poest for the 17th-century local farmer and miller Jan Barentsen Wemp, who had a pimple (poest) or had difficulty breathing (poesten = to breathe); he owned a farm and a mill on the Poestenkil creek.[9][10]

Among the earliest settlers in the town was Archelaus Lynd. He leased 300 acres of land from the Van Rensselaers and made his first clearing in the area of Hillside Cemetery, which was known as The Lynd Cemetery until about 1900. The Whyland and Ives families were other early settlers.


View of Poestenkill by Hadley (c. 1870)

The area was first settled around 1770,[4] and the town of Poestenkill was created from part of the Town of Sand Lake on March 2, 1848.[4][11]

When the American Revolutionary War broke out, six men served from the area. One, named Benjamin Cotterel, is said to have carried the first wheelbarrow of earth to Bunker Hill.[4]

The first school in the area was established in or soon after 1788 on land set aside for that purpose by Stephen Van Rensselaer III.[4] Five men from Poestenkill served in the War of 1812, all joining the Eddy expedition.[4]

The first regular church in Poestenkill was the First Baptist church, organized in 1814 and located in East Poestenkill.[4]

During the American Civil War, many of Poestenkill's men served with the Union's forces; twelve who died in action were Daniel M. Horton, Philip Amidon, Daniel Morrison, John Wagoner, George Bradt, Dexter Randall, William H. H. Wood, Martin Larabee, Willard Bailey, W. L. Robbins, George Simmons, and William H. Mason.[4]

Future president James A. Garfield considered a job as high school principal in Poestenkill in 1856, though lost it to another applicant.[12]

Poestenkill celebrated its sesquicentennial (150th anniversary) in 1998, with several events including a Revolutionary War reenactment, antique car show, a parade, and a historical display. A postcard was also produced for the town at the time.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 32.6 square miles (84.4 km²), of which, 32.5 square miles (84.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.43%) is water.

The eastern and central portions of the town are part of the Rensselaer Plateau.[13]

The town is serviced in part by Brunswick (Brittonkill) Central School District and by Averill Park Central School District.



Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20164,543[3]0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
Hollywood Drive In on Route 66

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 4,054 people, 1,527 households, and 1,137 families residing in the town. The population density was 124.9 people per square mile (48.2/km²). There were 1,628 housing units at an average density of 50.2 per square mile (19.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.35% White, 0.17% Blacks and or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.27% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. Latino or Latino of any race were 0.67% of the population.

There were 1,527 households out of which 36.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 9.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.5% were non-families. 20.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.07.

In the town, the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 104.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.2 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $58,945, and the median income for a family was $63,819. Males had a median income of $40,128 versus $29,486 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,143. About 0.5% of families and 1.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.0% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.

Communities and locations in Poestenkill[edit]

  • Barberville – A hamlet southeast of Poestenkill village at the junction of Plank and Blue Factory roads. The community derives its name from a local family.[16]
  • East Poestenkill (formerly "Columbia") – A hamlet in the southeast part of the town at the junction of Plank and Legenbauer roads.
  • Ives Corner – A hamlet east of Poestenkill village at the junction of Plank and Columbia Hill roads. The community was named after the local Ives family.[17]
  • Poestenkill – The hamlet of Poestenkill at the junction of Routes 68 and 351
Routes 68 and 351
  • Rensselaer County Airport (5B7) – An airport in the northwest part of the town. The airport is not large enough to take on any large commercial airplanes, only small privately owned planes.
  • Poestenkill Library – A local library connected to the Upper Hudson Library System. This location serves as a community center where town events occur. These events include: singers, book sales, 4 July Parties, Children's reading hour, and other events.
  • Barberville Falls – A waterfall that connects into the Poestenkill creek. Includes a small trail and views of the waterfall. Swimming is prohibited.


  1. ^ "Supervisor's Office". Town of Poestenkill. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  2. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 5, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Anderson, George Baker (1897). "XXXII". Landmarks of Rensselaer County: Town of Poestenkill. Syracuse NY: D. Mason. Retrieved 2007-06-07.
  5. ^ Munsell, Joel (1852). The Annals of Albany. Volume III. Albany: Joel Munsell. p. 59. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  6. ^ Gobert, T.A.; Cara Manley; Richard Montena (April 25, 2007). "Natural Features of Mount Ida" (PDF). mountidatroy.org. Retrieved 2009-04-23.
  7. ^ The obsolete Dutch word poest is retained in at least the dialect of Drenthe and can mean there (see dialect dictionary of Drents (Dutch province language)) 1. pimple (modern Dutch: de puist) 2. breath 3. illness: breathlessness 4. small bridge of which the middle part can be taken out 5. wooden board that can be placed over a stream 6. blowpipe (1m long) for the fireplace. If we may extrapolate these dialect meanings to seventeenth century NY Dutch language, then common sense would suggest meaning 4: Poestenkil = Creek with the little bridge with the movable middle, or 5. Creek with the board. Perhaps there are old pictures of a bridge over the Poestenkil ? Alternatively, there might have been a Dutch settler by the (nick)name of Poest (perhaps with a pimple?), so that the name would mean say "Mr. Pimple's Creek".
  8. ^ Neither does the extensive multivolume Woordenboek der Nederlandse Taal WNL give the meaning "froth" or "bubbly" for poest, but is in line with the meanings given above (offers also: cowshed, piece of wood and the verb poesten (blow, brag, kiss, fight, what not! .... online results in Dutch to add to the confusion..).
  9. ^ See "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-05-09. Retrieved 2008-04-30.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link) and, e.g., http://history.rays-place.com/ny/ren-troy-village-ny.htm on Jan Barentsen Wemp or Wamp.
  10. ^ Wemp or Poest owned a farm and a mill on the creek
  11. ^ Sullivan, James (1927). "Chapter VI. Rensselaer County". The History of New York State, Book III. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. Archived from the original on 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2007-06-06.
  12. ^ Peskin, Allan (1978). Garfield. Kent State University Press. p. 45. ISBN 0-87338-210-2.
  13. ^ "Rensselaer Plateau Association - Maps". Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  14. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  16. ^ University of the State of New York Bulletin. University of the State of New York. 1914. p. 51.
  17. ^ University of the State of New York Bulletin. University of the State of New York. 1914. p. 52.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]