Beekman is a town in Dutchess County, New York, United States. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area. The population was 14,621 at the 2010 census. The name is from Henry Beekman, an early land owner.
The "Beekman" name became attached to the area in 1697, from Henry Beekman, a Kingston native, who had numerous land stakes in Dutchess County. The town had also been occupied by the Wappinger Indians, before the first European settlers arrived around 1710. The Beekman Patent, granted to Beekman in 1697, was the second largest land holding in Dutchess County. In 1737, Beekman became an official Precinct and local government was erected. 1788 was the initial period of establishing towns and counties in the newly independent state of New York, but parts were removed subsequently to form other towns. Beekman contributed part of its territory to the newer Towns of La Grange (1821) and Union Vale (1827). Iron ore extraction and smelting were important in the early economy. The Beekman Patent was a feudal manor until after the Revolution. Residents could only lease the land and pay rent in wheat, fat fowls and work on roads. The series Settlers of the Beekman Patent chronicles the lives of all residents there in the 18th century.
Beekman saw its first place of worship shortly thereafter, a Lutheran Church located off Beach Rd, was frequented by German emigrants. The Quaker family, well known in the area for being one of the initial settlers, created a meeting house in 1771 in Gardner Hollow, named the Apoquague Preparative Meeting. The church attracted most of the population at the time, and those who did not worship there frequented St. Denis Church, a Catholic Church, just beyond the East Fishkill border.
Late 19th century
Beekman began its "boom" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as the communities of Sylvan Lake, Beekmanville and Clove Valley were in the active mining business. Many townsfolk that settled in town during this time were Irish men, escaping the Potato Famine and sent their families to Beekman as well, which was the beginning of diversity in Beekman. However, the mining industry died out in the late 19th century, with very few remains today. The most notable one, the "Beekman Furnace" is still intact on Furnace Road, just off of Clove Valley Road.
Beekman in the 20th Century
After the demise of the mining business in the late 19th century, Beekman saw another boom in the 20th century, with housing developments such as Dalton Farms, the first gas stations, and construction of the first supermarket in town, Shoprite(now Stop & Shop), signalling a big boom.
Today Beekman has a total population of 14,000, being one of the fastest growing towns in the entire country, very few farms are remaining as commerce and industry increasingly shape the non residential areas of the town.