The area known as Putnam County was originally purchased by Dutch settlers from the Indians in the late 1600s and later sold to a wealthy landowner. It was part of Dutchess County until 1812, when a 235-square mile piece of land was declared an independent county. Named after Revolutionary War General Israel Putnam, Putnam County first flourished as an industrial area. A foundry used to make weapons was built in Cold Spring, rich iron mines were abundant and John Gail Borden constructed the Borden Milk Factory in Brewster. In the early 1900s, New York City acquired land for reservoirs and beautiful lakes replaced many Putnam County farms. Today, year-round trout and bass fishing, as well as skiing, hiking, antiquing and playing golf, have transformed Putnam County into an area of lakeside resort communities and a tourist Mecca.
Carmel Township has many points of significant interest and the least of which is the Carmel Central School District. Five schools - Matthew Paterson Elementary, Kent elementary, Kent Primary, George Fischer Middle and Carmel High School - serve thousands of area students. An education in history can be obtained just by visiting several nearby attractions. The Old Baptist Cemetery is the final resting place for numerous Revolutionary War soldiers. Sybil Ludington’s statue marks her heroic efforts to warn residents the British were burning Danbury. The Chuang Yen Monastery is home to the Woo-Ju Library, which specializes in the Buddhist religion. Other appealing attractions include Drew Seminary, Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park, Belle Levine Art Center, Carmel Historical Center and the Long Pond Showcase.
The Croton Reservoir System is a popular recreational getaway. Sycamore Park consists of 32 acres, 18 of which are fully developed for water and land activities, and is the center from which the Carmel Recreation and Parks Department operates. Biking is also popular throughout Putnam County, where there are many picturesque lakes, ponds and waterways. Two mountain bike trails are located in Fahnestock Park - the 10-mile Peekskill Hollow Road trail and the five-mile Stow Road loop. The annual “Tour de Putnam” is a day of exciting bike tours through the scenic countryside with planned stops at local historic sites and landmarks.
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