Poughkeepsie is located on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 90 miles north of New York and about 80 miles south of Albany. It is an industrial city and the seat of Dutchess County. It is also the home of Vassar College, one of the elite Seven Sisters colleges, as well as Marist College and Dutchess Community College. Tourists are attracted to the Vanderbilt Mansion, Franklin Delano Roosevelt home, and the Culinary Institute of Technology, all a few miles to the north. Poughkeepsie was founded by Dutch settlers in 1687. In 1777 it was the temporary capital of New York; in 1788 the state legislature met here to ratify the U.S. Constitution. In the early 19th century it was a river port for the surrounding farms, but because of competition from western agriculture after the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825, the economy shifted to industry. Incorporation as a city came in 1854.
The name Poughkeepsie is derived from native American words meaning "reed-covered lodge by the little water place."