IBM’s Impact on Kingston and Ulster County
Thousands of people worked at the IBM plant in the Town of Ulster. At its busiest, in 1985, 7,100 people were employed there. Thousands more owned or worked for local businesses that benefited from the presence of IBM in the community. Some people built homes for new arrivals, some supplied IBM with equipment, others taught IBMers’ children or sold them their cars.
The Kingston area transformed, with new suburbs popping up in all directions. In the Town of Ulster, for example, the population increased from 4,411 persons to 8,449 persons between 1950 and 1960. Nearly 80% of the town’s housing stock was constructed after the arrival of IBM.
There was a boom in school construction. Between 1959, when the area schools consolidated, and 1980, seven new schools were built.
In Uptown Kingston, Ulster County built a new Office Building on Fair Street. New banks were constructed on Wall and Fair Streets and the Pine Street Professional Park was developed to serve medical professionals. Four new houses of worship were built in Kingston and more were constructed in nearby communities.
Shopping centers, within the city limits and especially along Route 9W in the Town of Ulster, replaced retail establishments in Uptown Kingston and Rondout.