Then & Now

West Point cadets and the sex-and-drug ’60s; IBM, Luckey Platt, and ice harvesters; airports, bridges, and those famous ferries. Join us for a look back at the last 100 years of Valley history



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IBM workers help create materials for World War IIPhotographs courtesy of IBM Archives and International Business Machines Corporation. Unauthorized use not permitted

Ever Onward

Then: IBM first set up shop in the area in 1942, when the company built a plant in Poughkeepsie. During those early years, the site focused on the war effort, producing bombsights, rifles, and engine parts to “Keep ’Em Flying!” (as shown at left). After the war, IBM emerged as the national leader in computer technology, and the Valley reaped the benefits for years to come. The Poughkeepsie plant expanded in 1954, and in 1963, the company built another facility just down Route 9 in East Fishkill. By the mid-1980s, 20 percent of Dutchess County residents were employed by the legendary corporation known for its outstanding benefits. But nothing lasts forever. Economic downturns in the early 1990s and in 2002 resulted in acutely felt layoffs that reverberated throughout the county for years.

International Business Machines building
IBM's Road Runner supercomputer

Now: With approximately 11,600 employees in the region, IBM remains a stellar place to work. And despite the rough economic climate (and some additional layoffs), the company’s future looks bright. Assembly Magazine named the Poughkeepsie plant its “Assembly Plant of the Year 2008” for its leadership in green manufacturing. Earlier this year, the Poughkeepsie plant unveiled the world’s fastest computer — the $133 million Road Runner (above, right), which packs the power of 100,000 laptops.

 
Next: The Newburgh Waterfront

 

Click on any image below to view more historic photos from 'round the Valley

 

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