Charles B Knox Gelatine Co. Inc.
Edition of
The Old Mohawk-Turnpike Book

Little Falls City Hall.
On East Main Street. This is one of the finest
municipal buildings in the Mohawk Valley (costing
$200,000) and was made possible through the
generosity of Mr. David H. Burrell.


Little Falls.

(Herkimer County)
(Over N.Y.C.R.R.. New York, 216 m.; Buffalo, 223 m. Sea elevation, 363 feet.
1920 population, 13,029.) 


Turnpike Mileage Distances.

East: Fink's Bridge 1 m. (by detour over bridge), Gen. Herkimer Home 2 m., East Creek 7 m., St.Johnsville 10 m., Palatine Church 13 m., Fort Plain-Nelliston 16 m., Canajoharie-Palatine Bridge 19 m. (by detour), Stone Arabia churches 23 m., Yosts (the Noses) 25 m., Fonda- Fultonville 31 m. (by detour from Fonda), Johnstown 35 m., Gloversville 39 m (by detour from Fultonville), Auriesville Shrine 35 m., Tribes Hill-Fort Hunter 37 m., Fort Johnson 39 m., Amsterdam 42 m., Hoffman's Ferry 49 m., Schenectady 58 m., Albany 73 m., New York 222 m.

West: Herkimer 7 m., Mohawk 9 m. (by detour from Mohawk), Fort Herkimer church 11 m., Ilion 11 m., Frankfort 13 m., Utica 23 m., Whitesboro 27 m., Oriskany 30 m., Oriskany Battlefield Monument 32 m., Rome 38 m., Syracuse 73 m., Rochester 170 m., Buffalo 227 m.

The next important point west is Herkimer, 7 m.; east, St. Johnsville, 10 m.


Little Falls Gorge Geology.

At Little Falls is one of the great faults or dislocations of the earth's strata, which mark the southern Adirondack region. It runs from the south side Fall Hill to the Pinnacle, 10 miles northwest and two miles north of Dolgeville. It forms part of the eastern front of the north side Fall Hill. The glacier and the subsequent great post-glacial Iromohawk river cut 700 feet through Fall Hill ridge. The bottom of the Gorge is the channel of the great Iromohawk in which the modern (25,000 years old) Mohawk has carved a smaller channel which is sharply marked below the Gulf. The river channel and the Gorge walls which rise 300 feet are of syenite (pre-Cambrian igneous rock), except the Rollaway, which is of Little Falls Dolomite. A dike of diabase cuts into the syenite below the Gulf. Above the syenite the Little Falls dolomite is exposed for several hundred feet on the upper side of the Gorge. The heights are capped by Trenton (including Lowville and Black River) limerstone. Canajoharie shales and the Lorraine formation on Barto Hill (1,561 feet sea el.) and the summit of the north side Fall Hill, 9 m. n. of Little Falls. The potholes are carved in the hard syenite, while the Little Falls diamonds are found in the Little Falls dolomitic limestone in combination with a substance called anthracite.

The Little Falls Gorge, with its exposed rock and strata forming a record of geological history and its evidences of titanic water and glacial forces, is a place of much interest to geologists and a classic example of the geology of New York State, the rocks of which form the national text book of geology. Here are found unusual rock crystals locally known as

Little Falls Diamonds.

They have been uncovered in great quantity and are often of considerable size. There are several local collections and they may be found in many American geological collections. 


Fall Hill - A Military Strategic Point.

We would today laugh at considering Fall Hill and the Little Falls Gorge from a military or strategic point of view but in the long procession of future centuries, its use as a defensive point is not utterly improbable. The Mohawk valley is today the military defensive key position between the Atlantic seaboard and the Great Lakes region. In case of invasion or warfare, Fall Hill and the Little Falls Gorge would become the defensive point of this national line of water, rail and highway communication. The Noses and the Yantapuchaberg-Touareuna pass would be secondary eastward defensive points.

The Little Falls Gorge was an early warpath of the Mohawks and other Indians. This important portage of As-to-ren-gen, around the falls, was used by Indians first and later by Colonial white traders for a century before the German Palatine pioneers, carried their goods and boats over the rocks here and entered the upper valley.

Today railroads, river and highway are confined within the narrow limits of this narrow gorge - more closely than in any other section of the great New York-Buffalo tri-route transit way - and here, at Little Falls, an unusual opportunity is offered for a close-up study of these three great passenger and freight systems. In 1921 a hydroplane trip was made from Albany to Little Falls, above the Mohawk, to test the practicability of the Albany-Buffalo Barge canal route for an air freight passenger service.

The narrow part of the Little Falls Gorge extends westward from Fink's bridge a distance of about two miles, and affords rugged picturesque scenery in marked contrast to the average pastoral field and hill views along the Mohawk.


Little Falls River View.
Looking east from spillway of Utica Gas & Electric Co.
hydro-plant.  Century old stone mills line river; old
Erie canal aqueduct ruins in distance.


About a half mile west of Fink's Bridge and well within the Little Falls city limits, is the

Barge Canal Big Lock.

with the greatest water lift in the Western hemisphere, making a rise of 40 1/2 feet from 322 1/2 feet sea elevation below to 363 feet water level sea elevation above the dam. This dam is one of the greatest engineering works of the many created during Barge canal construction (1905-1918). Barge canal construction through the Little Falls Gorge offered most difficult problems, which were successfully met. A rock cut channel, following the old Erie canal bed, was blasted out of the solid rock for a distance of over a mile along the south shore, while the river follows its original course over the upper and lower falls, but with decreased water supply, except in winter, when the Barge canal is not in operation. The Little Falls lock is higher than any lock in the Panama canal.


Site of the Great Cataract - Mohawk, 150 Feet Deep Here.

Between Moss Island and the lower falls the Mohawk is the deepest in its course - 150 feet from surface to bottom. This stretch is in reality a giant pothole cut in the rock by the great post-glacial cataract, which probably here exerted its most titanic force.


Moss Island's Giant Potholes.

The Barge canal cut makes a long narrow island of part of the city on the south shore bank. At its southern end, between the Big Lock and the river, lies wooded Moss island, which is one of the geological wonders of the world because on it are located the world's greatest potholes (worn in the rock by water action). Some of these holes are 30 feet across and these, with other evidences of ancient water action, attest the power of the mighty cataract which cut through this gorge. Moss Island should be preserved as a State reservation to keep forever is geological wonders and to prevent its use for factory sites.

The Mohawk Turnpike, in its course from Schenectady to Little Falls, makes a rise from an elevation above sea level of 240 feet on its roadbed at Scotia, opposite Schenectady, to 360 feet just below Fall Hill at Fink's Bridge; from there rising to 420 feet sea elevation at the business center of Little Falls. This gives a total rise from Scotia to Little Falls of 180 feet in 58 miles.

The Turnpike, in its two mile course through the city forms picturesque Main street (East and West) in Little Falls. Roads run north to Piseco lake in the Adirondacks, northeast to Dolgeville, and south to Richfield Springs, Cooperstown and the Susquehanna river.

Little Falls was incorporated as a city in 1895. In 1910 27 per cent of the population was of foreign parentage and nearly 32 per cent of foreign birth, the peoples of southern and eastern Europe predominating. The city is located on the Central and West Shore railroads, north and south highways and on the Mohawk river and the Barge canal, the latter passing through the city in a rock cut channel. A Barge canal terminal dock is here located. This is the terminus of the Little Falls and Dolgeville railroad. Interurban trolleys connect (1924) westward with Herkimer, Mohawk, Ilion, Frankfort, Utica and Rome and westward, from Utica, to Buffalo.


Little Falls - Industrial.

The chief industries of the city of Little Falls in 1924 were knit goods, leather, bicycles, dairy machinery, incubators, cotton yarn, batting, book cases, felt shoes, dairy preparations and butter color, upholstery fibre, knit goods machinery. Largest calfskin finishing works in the U.S., and here are the largest tissue paper, bicycle and hammer works in the world. There is a hydro-electric power development plant on the Mohawk at Little Falls, it being a station of the Utica Gas and Electric Co., where 1,600 hp. is (1924) generated.

In 1909 the city had 55 factories with 4,408 employees, introducing an annual output valued at $8,500,000. In 1912 knit goods and hosiery industries here employed 2,345 operatives.

In 1919 Little Falls had 51 factories with a primary horsepower of 8,730, with 3,688 operatives producing manufactures of an annual value of $24,851,536 (U. S. Census statistics).

Little Falls is a trading and shipping center for an important dairying and farming section. The city has a sewer system, electric light and power, municipal water works, hospital, public library, Masonic temple and a handsome City hall.

Little Falls is a picturesque, historic city, the most beautifully situated of any town on the New York to Buffalo route. It is a fine, modern American commercial and industrial center and a city with a splendid future. Its active and progressive Chamber of Commerce will give city information to all who desire it.

Little Falls is picturesquely situated on a series of rocky terraces rising from the north side of the river, the Rollaway cliffs on the south side rising sheer 240 to 340 feet above the upper streets and the adjacent West Shore tracks. The views from city heights are among the finest in the Mohawk valley.


Little Falls, Highest New York to Buffalo City.

The northeastern limits of the city of Little Falls rise to a sea elevation of 1,060 feet and are 697 feet above the river. This is the highest point in any city or town on the New York to Buffalo route and on the Mohawk Turnpike.


Little Falls to Buffalo Trolley Route.

Little Falls is the eastern terminus of a trolley line which forms part of a continuous trolley route from Little Falls to Buffalo over various lines.


Little Falls and Dolgeville Railroad.

Dolgeville (Pop. 1920, 3,448) is some eight miles north of Little Falls, reached from Little Falls over the Little Falls & Dolgeville railroad, which has its north terminus at Salisbury Center, 3 miles north, in a lumbering district. Dolgeville is the most important felt producing center in the state. At Salisbury, near there, is an iron mine, now (1921) abandoned, and there are important lumber interests in the vicinity.

The Little Falls and Dolgeville railroad is a branch of the New York Central Lines. A bus line also connects the towns.


Mohawk Valley Dairying and Herkimer
County Cheese - Valley Agriculture.

The Mohawk valley is a famous agricultural and dairying section supplying great quantities of milk to the metropolitan district and, at one time, it furnished an enormous amount of butter and cheese for home and abroad. "Herkimer county cheese" was famous and Little Falls was (1830-1900) the largest cheese market in the United States. In this country "store" or American cheese making for the market originated in Herkimer county near Little Falls, about 1800.

In 1916, the milk of 250,000 cows was used to supply New York city alone, the great majority of them being in New York state. The Mohawk valley is one of the chief sources of milk supply for the metropolis.

As the valley is a great milk producing section and, as bees are largely raised along the Mohawk, the Mohawk valley is indeed "a land flowing with milk and honey."

Utica supplanted Little Falls as the American cheese market about 1900, but now (1924) northern New York has become the state's great cheese factory and Watertown since 1910 has supplanted Utica. The present great metropolitan demand for raw milk takes most of the valley supply. The Holstein-Friesian (black-and-white) cow is the favorite valley milch cow.

Although cheese was made north of Little Falls as early as 1800, cheesemaking first became and important valley industry after the opening of the Erie canal in 1825. Prior to that date the Mohawk valley had been for years the greatest wheat granary of the nation, with Albany as the country's chief wheat market. The opening of the Erie, gave the wonderfully productive wheat farms of the Genesee valley an easy route to the east. The Mohawk valley farmers could not meet this competition in wheat raising and gradually turned to dairying and general farm crops. The Mohawk Valley flats are among the most fertile lands in the world. Their black soil has a depth of from five to fifteen feet. Mohawk Valley farms and homesteads stand high in American modern agriculture. They are generally well kept and equipped and farms, barns and houses make an unusually good and substantial appearance.

The Mohawk valley farmers, on the southern watershed, raised hops from about 1850 until 1910.


The Gateway Theatre, Little Falls.
On upper Ann Street just north of Main Street.

Lovers' Leap and the Rollaway.

A precipice to the east of the Rollaway, or south side bluff, is known as Lovers' Leap. The legend is that a brave of another tribe wooed a Mohawk maiden and ran away with her. Pursued by the Mohawks the lovers found escape impossible and ran along the trail to the edge of the cliff from which, clasped in each other's arms, they leaped to death on the rocks a hundred feet below at the river's brink. The Rollaway is so called because lumbermen cutting timber on Fall Hill rolled their logs over the cliff to the river below, from whence they were floated downstream. This rollaway is still visible on the face of the cliff.


Little Falls, "The Gateway to the West."

Little Falls has been fittingly called "The Gateway to the West," for through this backbone of the Atlantic Slope, vast numbers of settlers went westward to develop our great western empire. This traffic went by river, later by canal and railroad, and largely over the Mohawk Turnpike which here forms the Main street of Little Falls.


Gateway of the Upper Mohawk Valley.

This river gorge here forms the gateway to the upper Mohawk valley, the scene of Palatine German settlement, about 1722, in its eastern end, and of a large and important immigration of New England, British, and other peoples, following the close of the Revolution in 1783, into the western section of this upper valley.


Little Falls - Historical.

The Mohawk Indians called the rocky site of Little Falls As-to-ren-ga, "place of rocks," and Tal-e-que-ga, "little bushes," referring to the scrub cedars which covered the rocks.


The Old Carrying Place.

Mohawk river traffic was carried mainly in canoes until about 1740, when batteaux and flatboats began to be used by traders, pioneers and rivermen. The Indians and early traders unloaded their canoes at one end of the carry and packed canoes and cargo on their backs over the rocks here. About 1740 the boats were portaged here on stone boats and rough sleds and later on wide wheeled wagons. The portage trail was over the route of the first lock canal, which the visitor can see here.


Settlement, 1725.

Little Falls formed the eastern end of the Burnetsfield patent of 1725, and the carrying rights over the portage here thus became the property of the Palatine German patentees, who here engaged in hauling boats around the falls. One of these carriers was Johan Jost Herkimer, father of General Nicholas Herkimer. A Palatine German named Petrie was the first settler at Little Falls. He located at the mouth of Furnace creek where he built a house and grist mill about 1725.


British and American Army Portage.

From about 1725 until the close of the War of 1812-14, the Little Falls carry was used by Colonial British and later American armies in transporting ordnance up and down the Mohawk. Supplies and material for the erection and fortification of Fort Oswego, Fort William and Fort Stanwix (at present Rome) and the later Revolutionary posts were all brought up the river and carried over the rocks here by British and American soldiers.


Canada Conquered (1760) Through the Little Falls Gorge.

Colonial British-American army expeditions against Canada (1754-1760) and American armies of the Revolution and the War of 1812 all used this old carry after toiling with their laden boats up the Mohawk. The greatest of these armies was that of Gen. Amherst, numbering 10,000 men (6,000 American militiamen and 4,000 British regulars) which, in 1760, passed up the Mohawk on its way to the capture of Montreal and the final conquest of Canada, which was finally won through the Little Falls Gorge, as all other expeditions against Montreal by other routes had failed. The passage of these armies through this then wild rocky gorge afforded scenes of vividly picturesque military activity.

The passage of these epoch-making expeditions, through the Mohawk valley and the Little Falls Gorge, is scarcely mentioned in American histories.

Probably many of the troops of Colonial and Revolutionary armies marched over the old Colonial highway from Fink's Basin to Jacksonburgh. Many men were then required to portage an army's boats at this carry.

Besides these older military movements, American troops and supplies in great number and quantities passed by railroads and canal, through the Little Falls Gorge in the Civil war (1861-65), Spanish war (1898) and World war (1917-1918).


Little Falls Indian Raid, 1782.

In 1778 British and Tories raided Manheim, a German settlement just northeast of Little Falls, carrying off a dozen prisoners. During the last Tory-Indian raid of the upper valley in June, 1782, and Indian war party came to Little Falls and attacked and burned Petrie's mill and dwelling. Daniel Petrie was killed and several farmers and soldiers in the mill were captured and taken to Canada.

About 8 miles north of Little Falls is the old Palatine German settlement of Manheim, with its Old Yellow church, where over 50 soldiers of the Revolution are buried.


After the Revolution.

Little Falls was resettled in 1789, when the mill was rebuilt and the "old yellow house" was erected adjoining it. John Porteous, a Scotchman, was the first merchant in Little Falls, coming here in 1790. Thereafter the place grew rapidly, particularly after 1793, when bridges were built on the Turnpike, over the East and West Canada creeks. Among the Little Falls settlers were men by the names of Alexander, Philips, Smith, Lankton, Winsor, Carr, Moralee, Britteon, Parkhurst, Skinner.

In 1790 a toll bridge was here built across the Mohawk, the first on record to be constructed over our famous river.


Westward Ho! - through the Little Falls Gorge.

Following the Revolution in 1783, a great tide of emigration flowed westward through the Little Falls Gorge to the settlement of all the northern belt of the United States westward of this famous gateway. In 1792, the first stages ran to Utica and Whitesboro, at first following the south shore highway. When the Mohawk Turnpike Co. was chartered and the old King's Highway improved in 1800, this great volume of travel and traffic generally passed over the Old Mohawk Turnpike on the north shore. Then Little Falls became an important point for highway and river travel with several famous taverns here.

In 1796 the settlers of this growing village formed the Concord society and built on Church street (where the present schoolhouse stands) the old Octagon church, which here served Protestants of all sects, and which was a famous landmark for travelers. A sort of Gabriel's trumpet in the shape of a long tin horn was used to call the citizens to worship. A marker now locates the old church site.


Early American Lock Canal, 1797.

In 1788 Elkanah Watson, a New England engineer, investigated the navigation possibilities of the Mohawk. Having great faith in the commercial possibilities of this valley waterway to the west, he interested Gen. Philip Schuyler of Albany and others in the matter and in 1792 the Inland Lock and Navigation Co. was formed. In 1797 canals and locks were completed at Little Falls, Wolf's rift (5 m. w.) and at Rome, there connecting the Mohawk with Wood creek. These were first American commercial lock canals and this whole Mohawk river improvement became the progenitor of the great State Barge canal of today.


The Ellice Proprietorship.

Prior to the Revolution, Alexander Ellice, an alien Scotchman and a friend of Sir William Johnson, secured ownership of the water rights of the Little Falls on the north shore and the property adjacent thereto, comprising most of the present city. Water rights and lands on which to erect buildings, could only be obtained under lease. This interfered seriously with early village development, from 1790 until 1831, when the entire Ellice property was sold to a local company for $50,000. The purchasers made $50,000 on resales of the real estate. Several members of this local company donated large blocks of their property to form the present attractive city park system.

Some other item of Little Falls history and development follow. Following 1790 a considerable New England element settled in and around Little Falls, and to the north of the city, these Yankees started cheese making about 1800. In 1811 Little Falls was chartered a village and in 1817 the Montgomery county line was moved east from Fall Hill to East Creek. By 1821 the Erie canal was built from Rome to Little Falls, boats leaving the canal here and proceeding eastward on the river. The village boomed in this canal construction period and enthusiastically greeted Gov. Clinton's triumphal canal tour on the Erie's opening in 1825. 1817-1875, was a period of Irish immigration. From about 1830 until 1900, Little Falls was the chief American cheese market. In 1831 Henry Burrell made the first shipment (10,000 lbs.) of cheese from here to England. Little Falls became an important station on the Utica & Schenectady railroad on its opening in 1836.


Little Falls in 1840.

In 1840 Little Falls is thus described: "The village is situated on both sides of the Mohawk river in a most romantic situation and contains 5 churches - 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopal, 1 Baptist, 1 Methodist and 1 Roman Catholic - an academy, 2 printing offices, 1 bank, 30 stores and groceries, 1 woolen factory, 3 paper mills, 2 flouring mills, 2 plaster mills, 1 trip hammer works, 4 furnaces, 1 machine shop, 1 distillery, 1 brewery, 1 fulling mill, 1 sash factory. The river here has a fall of 42 feet in half a mile, affording great water power. The Erie canal has a feeder which crosses the river in a fine acqueduct, 214 feet long and 16 feet wide, with walls 14 feet high, upheld by one arch of 70 feet span, and two others of 50 feet each. The canal passes into the brow of a mountain here which reached to the border of the river and embankment. In widening the canal more ample room is obtained by occupying a part of the river between an island and the south bank." No population is here given but one of over 2,500 is indicated.

In 1842 the manufacture of woolen goods was started. Little Falls Academy was founded in 1844. In 1845 yarn manufacture started. The manufacture or dairy machinery began in originally in 1869 and the manufacture of leather in 1873.

In 1872 knit goods manufacture began. Between 1879 and 1882, the West Shore railroad bed was blasted along the bottom of the south side cliff, its construction here involving great difficulties. In 1881 the factory for the manufacture of dairy preparations opened. Bookcase manufacture also began and in 1900 a bicycle factory opened; felt shoe manufacture started about 1905.

The construction of the Barge canal here in its rock channel around the Little Falls of the Mohawk and the building of the big lock were engineering feats which were successfully accomplished between 1905 and 1916, when this section of the canal was opened. In 1911 Little Falls celebrated its village centennial and, in 1916, the city held a Mohawk valley historical pageant, in celebration of the completion of America's greatest lift lock, forming another chapter in the interesting history of transportation through the wonderful Little Falls Gorge.

Little Falls today is an important commercial and industrial center. Its motto is: "Picturesque, productive Little Falls."

Little Falls was the home of Judge Nathaniel S. Benton, author of the valuable "History of Herkimer County and the Upper Mohawk Valley," published in 1856.


River Gorge Road, Little Falls to Herkimer.

The river gorge road westward, from Little Falls to Herkimer, is a very beautiful section of the valley. On this section of the Turnpike, westward from Little Falls, 4 m. to the Little Falls Country Club, the motorist is traveling over what was once a deep outlet over Fall Hill of the vast waters of the Great Lakes, toward the close of the Glacial period.



(Herkimer County)
(By West Shore R.R., N.Y., 214 m.; Buff., 219 m.; sea elevation, 363 ft.)

Jacksonburgh is on the south shore Turnpike, 4 miles west of Little Falls. It is a station on the West Shore R.R., with about a dozen houses in the immediate neighborhood. Mail comes via Mohawk. A road runs from here over Fall Hill mountain to the south shore Turnpike just below Fink's Basin. Over this road the wounded General Herkimer was carried home, August 7, 1777, the day after the battle of Oriskany.


Little Falls Country Club.

The Little Falls Country Club is picturesquely situated on the Mohawk Turnpike opposite Jacksonburgh and Mt. Okwari. Its golf links are on a high plateau which affords wide and picturesque views of this beautiful valley section. The Turnpike runs westward to Herkimer on the crest of a high river bluff which gives the motorist some of the best views along the river.


New York Central Railroad New York-Buffalo Half-way Point.

The New York Central R. R. half-way point between New York and Buffalo, is about one-half mile east of Jacksonburgh. Opposite Jacksonburgh it is 220 miles to New York and 219 miles to Buffalo over the New York Central main line.


Barge Canal Lock No. 18.

At Jacksonburgh is Barge canal Lock No. 18, with a sea elevation water level rise of 20 feet from 363 feet below to 383 feet above the lock. The upper canal level runs westward 11 miles, from the Jacksonburgh lock to Lock No. 19 at Steele's creek. This level runs in a land cut 3 miles west to Herkimer, with the river channel on the north side.


Jacksonburg and Mt. Okwari.
View looking south across the Mohawk, showing Barge
canal boat entering Jacksonburg lock.


Mt. Okwari (or Jacksonburgh Mt.),
1,017 Feet Above the Mohawk.

From the flats at Jacksonburgh steeply rise the rugged wooded slopes of Mt. Okwari or Jacksonburgh Mt., 1,017 feet above the Mohawk and 1,380 feet above the sea. This is the highest river section elevation of Fall Hill ridge and the fourth highest summit along the river. Mt. Okwari (Bear Mountain) is so named because the Mohawks called this region Okwari, meaning "bear," and the British Colonial Fort Herkimer, is designated as Ft. Kouari on an early map. Kouari is an English misspelling of Ok-wa-ri.

Six miles west of Little Falls on the south shore the motorist, on the Mohawk Turnpike, sees the ancient gray walls of Fort Herkimer church (1767), mentioned later and reached by detour (1924) south from Herkimer and Mohawk (See Fort Herkimer Church).


Birthplace of Gen. Herkimer, 1728.

One-half mile east of Fort Herkimer church a D. A. R. marker of 1912 shows the site of the log house of Johan Jost Herkimer, where his eldest son, later General Nicholas Herkimer was born in 1728 (See General Herkimer Home).


British Fort Herkimer, 1754-60.

Near this south shore point is the site of British Colonial Fort Herkimer, of which nothing now remains.

In the original Mohawk river channel a most dangerous rift or rapids was located near here, known as Wolf's Rift, where in Colonial days river boats frequently had to be carried over this portage. In 1797 a canal was built around this rift, serving river traffic until this part of the Erie canal was completed in 1820.

Passing the village of East Herkimer the motorist approaches the bridge over


West Canada Creek - the Kuyahoora.

The name West Canada (like the East Canada or East creek) comes from the fact that the pioneers considered the sources of these streams in Canada as New France claimed the Adirondack region. It is also called the Kuy-a-hoo-ra, a Mohawk word meaning "slanting waters," referring to the Trenton Falls on its course. The creek was also called by the Indians, Teugh-tagh-ra-row, meaning "muddy creek." It rises in the West Canada lakes in the Adirondacks, about 45 miles airline distance from its outlet here into the Mohawk. West Canada Lake is the highest lake in the Adirondacks, having an altitude of 2,367 feet above the sea and 2,003 feet above the Mohawk river.

The West Canada is the second largest Mohawk tributary, the Schoharie being the first. It is commercially important as it has important hydro-electric development of Trenton Falls (19 m. n. w.), above which is the great Hinckley reservoir (one of the great Barge canal structures), which is a water supply (with the Delta reservoir near Rome) of the summit level of the Barge canal. The Hinckley water supply reaches the Barge canal opposite the Oriskany Battlefield Monument (2 m. w. Oriskany) through the channel of Nine Mile creek.

The area of the West Canada creek valley is 372 square miles, while the area of the upper Mohawk river valley westward is 715 square miles, thus disposing of the great fable that the Kuyahoora is the greater stream. The area of the Schoharie valley is 920 square miles.

The Utica Gas and Electric Co. develops 34,500 horsepower (in 1924) at its plant at Trenton Falls. The West Canada is capable of much greater hydro-electric horsepower production. (See East Creek.)

The Kuyahoora valley is a beautiful and fertile farming and dairying region. It affords a picturesque tour northward to Trenton Falls, the Black river road and the Fulton Chain and Adirondack road at Alder creek. On the Kuyahoora are Middleville, Newport, Poland and Cold Brook. At Newport the first Yale locks were made in 1840.

The West Canada creek and valley is famous because its rocky limestone gorge at Trenton Falls has given the name of this picturesque cataract to one of the chief American geological formation - the Trenton epoch, of the Ordovicic period, which is the most remarkable limestone making era in American geological history. The Trenton limestone covers the lower West Canada valley from the upper end of the Hinckley reservoir to below Middleville. The upper West Canada valley lies in the Adirondack region. 


The West Canada and Westward-Flowing
Pre-Glacial Western Mohawk.

In pre-glacial times the West Canada creek flowed from Prospect southwest through the present channel of Nine Mile creek, entering the Mohawk opposite the present Oriskany Battlefield Monument. The present Mohawk watershed was divided by Fall Hill ridge in pre-Glacial times. All the water to the east of Fall Hill flowed through the present Mohawk channel and all to the west of Fall Hill flowed westward with outlet finally through the Ohio and Mississippi into the ocean waters. The pre-Glacial western, westward-flowing course of the present Mohawk is called Rome River by geologists and it probably was the northeastern source of this ancient mighty river, known to geologists as the Dundas river of the late Tertiary period.

The glacier left deposits which, together with tilting of the land, formed the southern watershed of the Great Lakes Basin, forcing their waters to flow eastward through the St. Lawrence. The glacial ice cut down the Fall Hill barrier at Little Falls and carved out an eastward sloping main channel for the entire Mohawk river of today. The glacier blocked the old channel of the West Canada at Prospect with drift forcing the stream to follow its present course, after the glacier melted.

In the old Turnpike days a toll gate house stood at the west end of the West Canada creek bridge (first built in 1793). On the west bank of the Kuyahoora lies Herkimer.





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