Part of the New York Harbor River System, the Port of Yonkers is only 26 nautical miles upriver (35 kilometers or 22 miles direct) northeast of the Port of New York. Located on the east bank of the Hudson River in Westchester County, New York, is in a hilly area just north of the Bronx, and it is only three kilometers (two miles) north of border of Manhattan. The 2010 US Census reported a population of almost 196 thousand living in the Port of Yonkers.
Before the Dutch made the area "New Netherland," a tribe of the Wappinger Confederacy inhabited Manhattan Island and the area that would become the Port of Yonkers. Their word for the island meant "the hill island," and the Dutch applied the name Manhattan to the Wappinger tribe.
The future Port of Yonkers was the site of the Wappingers' main village, Nappeckamack. From their fort on Spuyten Duyvil Creek, the Wappinger attacked Henry Hudson as he sailed down the river in 1609. During the 1643 Kieft's War, the Dutch allied with the Mohawk to fight the Wappinger. Defeating the Wappinger in 1645, the Dutch and Mohawk killed over half of the three thousand Wappinger who had lived in the Port of Yonkers area in 1600.
After the three-day Peach Tree War in 1655, the Wappinger confederation dissolved, and many of the people fled to nearby tribes for protection. In 1766, a Wappinger sachem, Daniel Nimham, went to London with a delegation that petitioned the British crown for better treatment by the incoming colonists and for land rights. After the American Revolution, most remaining Wappinger joined the Stockbridge-Munsee tribe in Ohio which is a federally-recognized tribe located in Oklahoma today.
In 1646, Adriaen van der Donck was given a land grant for the Wappinger lands in the future Port of Yonkers, and he built one of the New World's first saw mills on the site.
Frederick Philipse bought the land and built a manor house in 1682 that was later used as the Port of Yonkers city hall. In 1779, the new Americans confiscated the manor because Philipse descendants supported the Tories. The town of Yonkers was established in 1788 when it was a prosperous farming village.
The early Port of Yonkers became a major trading center, and its diverse population included Native Americans, Dutch, and English. During the 1700s, land development increased, and many businesses sprung up in the Port of Yonkers. These included more saw mills, grist mills, blacksmiths, general stores, and taverns. The Port of Yonkers waterfront was a center for sloops plying the Hudson and stagecoaches.
In 1849, the railroad connected the Port of Yonkers to New York City. In 1854, the Otis Elevator Works was opened in the Port of Yonkers. In 1874, the southern part of the Port of Yonkers was annexed into what became the Bronx.
One of the Port of Yonkers's first industrial sites was a stone mill that was built in the early 1800s. The mill was used as a cotton factory until the Hodgman Rubber Company bought it. By the mid-1800s, the Port of Yonkers was a center for the manufacture of carpets and hats. In 1867, the world's first elevated mass transit system was built in the Port of Yonkers. In 1872, the Village of Yonkers was incorporated with a population of about 20 thousand, and the Governor signed a charter making the Port of Yonkers a city. The United States' first golf club, the Saint Andrew's Golf Club, was established in the Port of Yonkers, although it later moved to Hastings-on-Hudson.
Today, the Port of Yonkers is home to diverse industry including manufacturers of valves, electronic components, plastic bags, and stamped metal products.