One hundred years ago, the city of Poughkeepsie was
a bustling marketplace for the mid-Hudson Valley,
while the town of Poughkeepsie was essentially rural and substantially smaller than the city. Two world wars and the arrival of IBM reversed the roles, at least in part. The town grew larger than the city and soon became the center of retail business for the county. Four- and six-lane highways replaced
trolleys and trains. The city, however, remained the center of county government. Poughkeepsie 1898–1998: A Century of Change explores not only how South Road became the new main street but also the whole history of Poughkeepsie, from the end of the nineteenth century to the present. Moving through this time period were incoming waves of Irish, Jewish, Italian, Polish, Greek, and Mexican immigrants. The railroads flourished and foundered, and civic, cultural, and social organizations grew.
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