Putnam County, New York (population 84,000) is located about 60 miles north of New York City in the heart of the picturesque Hudson Valley, an area rich in history. From the site of Benedict Arnold's surrender, to well-preserved 19th-century villages, to the home and studio of 20th-century designer Russel Wright, Putnam County has an exceptionally wide range of historic resources.
The Village of Cold Spring in Putnam County, New York, is known for its 19th-century architecture and is an important heritage tourism destination. (Photo courtesy of the Cold Spring Architectural and Historic District Review Board)
The county is included in the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area as well as in the designated American Heritage River area that encompasses the Hudson. The Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College is actively engaged in developing and promoting a wide range of historic preservation, natural resource preservation, and heritage tourism projects through these programs.
County funding also helps to support the Putnam County Historical Society and Foundry School Museum, which features local history collections and offers many programs for children, school outreach programs, and travelling exhibits throughout the county.
Putnam County has taken a proactive role in supporting cultural and historic initiatives by partnering with local municipalities and non-profits to promote preservation and heritage tourism.
For example, the Putnam County Tourist Promotion Agency partners with local organizations to promote exhibits and events at historic sites, publishes an annual travel guide, and facilitates cooperative advertising to draw visitors to the county's heritage destinations.
The Putnam County Historical Society is celebrating its 97th year, and Putnam County employs a County Historian and has a Historic Advisory Preservation Commission that has a comprehensive county preservation plan under development. The Village of Cold Spring, known for its 19th-century architecture and an important heritage tourism destination, already has a preservation ordinance in place.
Designated a Preserve America Community in January 2004.