Yonkers is a city in Westchester County, New York. It was founded in 1646 to take advantage of it geographical location and was initially populated by the Dutch. The city's name comes from John Yonker who started a ferry service between Manhattan and what is now Yonkers. The current population of the city of Yonkers is 221,000 people according to the 2010 census.
In 1646, John Yonker started a ferry service between what is now South Yonkers and the island of Manhattan. The ferry became very popular as it was much faster than traveling by land around the areas that separated the two boroughs. In 1659, John's son, Frederick began to run the ferry. It was soon after that in 1661 when Yonkers was established by the Dutch and became a city.
The original settlement in what is now South Yonkers (not considered part of modern-day Yonkers) began in 1654 when the state gave the first patent for Yonkers to George Doughty, an Englishman from Holland who had been living in America since 1643. Each successive owner of the land, after George Doughty, wanted to develop the settlement by selling lots and establishing businesses there. In 1787 Colonel Lewis Morris wrote to the state legislature urging them to sign a treaty with the Indians so that they would stop disrupting the development of Yonkers. Eventually, a petition was sent out for an act to provide a minister, schoolteacher, and bell for the community.
Just before the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, Confederate troops were stationed in Yonkers since their railroad ran through it. During this time, they robbed banks in neighboring areas causing citizens of Yonkers to complain to authorities about the soldiers' behavior. The only Confederate flag found in Yonkers was discovered after it had been run up the side of a barn.
Yonkers really began to flourish when the first trolley line was completed in October 28, 1890, along Main Street. This allowed people to travel from other cities into Yonkers using public transportation. The burgeoning city offered many services and other attractions that made it a destination for many people from nearby areas.
The city of Yonkers has seen many changes in population throughout its history. The first census taken in the state of New York was done in 1790. The city's population then was 2,406 people who were overwhelmingly English or Dutch.
By 1800 the number of people had grown to only 3,100 which may have been due to a smallpox epidemic that occurred between 1787 and 1789. By 1810 the population had grown to 3,700 people. This can be attributed to an influx of Irish immigrants who began migrating into Yonkers during this time period.
The population grew to 4,000 by 1820 which accounted for 57% of the total population in Westchester County. This population growth is attributed to the need for workers on the local farms and estates. However, this rapid growth was halted by a major fire in 1835 that destroyed much of the city and drove many people out.
By 1870 Yonkers had returned to having roughly 3,500 citizens and continued growing slowly until 1920 when it reached 43,373 people. From 1920 to 1950 the population grew much more rapidly, with 49,000 people. This can be attributed to many factors including an increase in government jobs and the post World War II baby boom which led to a demand for housing in Yonkers.
Modern Day Yonkers
From 1970 onward, Yonkers' population has largely remained the same, at around 200,000 people. The city has been going through a revitalization process since the 1990s which helped to improve many of its old areas as well as attract new residents and businesses. The Hudson River waterfront area of Yonkers has also been the focus of a major effort to attract parkland and recreational activities there.
Today, people of many different cultures live in Yonkers, which is reflected in the variety of restaurants and stores there. The city has long been known for its thriving shopping district at Central Avenue and Main Street.