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The city of Poughkeepsie serves as the county seat for Dutchess County. With a population of 33,000, the city sits as a midway point between Albany and New York City.

The name derives from a word in the Wappinger language, roughly U-puku-ipi-sing, meaning “the reed-covered lodge by the little-water place,” referring to a spring or stream feeding into the Hudson River south of the present downtown area.

Poughkeepsie is known as “The Queen City of the Hudson”. It was settled in the 17th century by the Dutch and became New York’s second capital shortly after the American Revolution. It was chartered as a city in 1854. Major bridges in the city include the Walkway over the Hudson, a former railroad bridge (originally called the Poughkeepsie Bridge), which re-opened as a public walkway on October 3, 2009; and the Mid-Hudson Bridge, a major thoroughfare built in 1930 that carries U.S. Route 44 (concurrent with State Route 55) over the Hudson.

The site of Poughkeepsie was purchased from Native Americans in 1686 by Robert Sanders, an Englishman, and Myndert Harmense Van Den Bogaerdt, a New Netherland-born Dutchman. The first settlers were the families of Barent Baltus Van Kleeck and Hendrick Jans van Oosterom. The settlement grew quickly, and the Reformed Church of Poughkeepsie was established by 1720. The community was set off from the town of Poughkeepsie when it became an incorporated village on 27 March 1799. The city of Poughkeepsie was chartered on 28 March 1854.