Friday, August 23, 2013

The Mystique of West Point, New York

The Mystique of West Point, New York

By Sakura Honda
The Daily Magi
September 11, 2051


West Point is a United States federal military reservation established by Thomas Jefferson in 1802. It comprises about 16,000 acres (6,500 ha) including the campus of the United States Military Academy, which is also called West Point. It is a census-designated place located in the Town of Highlands in Orange County, New York located on the western bank of the Hudson River. The population was 6,763 at the 2010 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, (then Fort Clinton) was a fortified site during the Revolutionary War. Originally picked because of 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 comprised 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 (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 and is the nation's oldest military academy.

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° 03' W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 25.1 square miles (65 km2); 24.3 sq mi (63 km2) land and 0.7 sq mi (1.8 km2) water. West Point and the contiguous village of Highland Falls, New York, are on the west bank of the Hudson River.

West Point lies in the transition between the humid continental (Köppen Dfa) and humid subtropical (Cfa) zones, although lying closer to the former, with four distinct seasons. Summers are hot and humid, while winters are cold with moderate snowfall. The monthly daily average temperature ranges from 27.5 °F (−2.5 °C) in January to 74.1 °F (23.4 °C) in July; on average, temperatures reaching 90 °F (32 °C) or 0 °F (−18 °C) occur on 17 and 1.4 days of the year, respectively. The average annual precipitation is approximately 50.5 inches (1,280 mm), which is distributed fairly evenly throughout the year; snow averages 35 inches (89 cm) per season, although this total may vary considerably from year to year. Extremes in temperature range from 106 °F (41 °C) on July 22, 1926 down to −17 °F (−27 °C) on February 9, 1934.

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