West Point is a federal military reservation (and a census-designated place) located north of the Village of Highland Falls in Orange County, New York, United States. The population was 7,138 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area. The United States Military Academy is located at West Point and has often been called "The Point."
West Point was a fortified site during the Revolutionary War. Originally picked due to the abnormal S-curve in the Hudson at this point, it was founded by one of the best military engineers of the time, Polish General Tadeusz Kościuszko. It was manned by a small garrison of Continental soldiers through the entirety of the war. A great iron chain was laid across the Hudson at this point in order to impede British Navy vessels, but it was never tested by the British. The site consisted of multiple redoubts, including Fort Putnam, which is still preserved in a Revolutionary-period design.
In perhaps the most infamous act of treason in American history, General Benedict Arnold attempted to turn the site over to the British Army in 1780 for a bribe consisting of a commission as a Brigadier General in the British Army and a cash reward of £20,000 (about $1.3M in 2009 dollars). However, Arnold's plot failed when British Major John André was captured as a spy by the Americans. Arnold received a decreased cash reward of 6,000 pounds (roughly $350,000) but was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the British Army.
The United States Military Academy was established at West Point in 1802 and has the longest continuous service of any United States military installation.
In 1937, the West Point Bullion Depository was constructed; in 1988 it became the West Point Mint, as a branch of the United States Mint.
West Point is located at 41°22′N 74°3'W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 25.1 square miles (64.9 km2); 24.3 square miles (63.0 km2) land and 0.7 square miles (1.9 km2) water. West Point and the contiguous village of Highland Falls, New York, are on the west bank of the Hudson River.
As of the census of 2000, there were 7,138 people, 996 households, and 939 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 293.4 per square mile (113.3/km2). There were 1,044 housing units at an average density of 42.9/sq mi (16.6/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 82.31% White, 9.09% African American, 0.50% Native American, 3.35% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.64% from other races, and 2.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.56% of the population.
There were 996 households out of which 75.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 87.8% were married couples living together, 4.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 5.7% were non-families. 5.4% of all households were made up of individuals and none had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.53 and the average family size was 3.66.
The age distribution is 21.9% under the age of 18, 51.2% from 18 to 24, 23.0% from 25 to 44, 3.8% from 45 to 64, and 0.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 21 years. For every 100 females there were 207.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 259.7 males. All of these statistics are typical for military bases.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $56,516, and the median income for a family was $56,364. About 2.0% of families and 2.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.