Category Archives: Cohoes

Wreckage of a home

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Wreckage_of_a_multistory_home,_Albany_County,_from_Robert_N._Dennis_collection_of_stereoscopic_views.pngAgain from the Robert N. Dennis Collection, a stereoscopic view titled “Wreckage of a Multistory Home, Albany County.” This is one of the rare views where the photographer is clearly identified: John H. New of 29 & 31 Remsen Street in Cohoes. New plied the photographic trade (and apparently sold sewing machines on the side) in Cohoes for a few decades. He was born in May 1838, and in his photographic business produced numerous portraits, cartes de visite and cabinet cards that can still be found today. Where this view might have been taken or what might have caused the wreckage is unclear, but the Edwardian cupola just beyond it is certainly suggestive of any number of buildings that still stand in and around Cohoes.

Cohoes, in living color

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From one of the Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopes, here’s an unusual view of Cohoes. It’s unusual in part because it’s in color, and in part because it’s not of the Cohoes Falls, but instead features the Harmony Mills complex (lower left, and I believe not fully built) and the railroad bridge to Waterford that still stands today. The Erie Canal runs through the middle foreground. It would appear that this photograph was taken somewhere up Manor Avenue, and then handpainted to present a rare color stereograph.

You can almost replicate the view shown here with Google Earth. Union College has a similar view, though it doesn’t show the railroad bridge or the background hills.

Map Week: Peebles (or Peobles) Island

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Today simplified spelling has it as “Peebles Island,” but this treasure of the Capital District was originally spelled “Peobles” back to the days of the original patroon. This 1891 Watson map doesn’t show any of the industry on the island, where the Cluett-Peabody company and its various iterations had a bleach and dye works. Nice to see names on the islands to the west, which only makes me wonder if the islands to the north felt slighted for remaining nameless. The hydraulic canal, which fed industry on the Waterford side, is gone now, but the old Champlain Canal remains. The path of the Cohoes and Waterford Horse Rail Road is now Saratoga Avenue, Route 32.

On the southwest corner, just at the edge of Cohoes, is an “Axe Fact. Foundry” I’d love to know more about. It may have been the Simmons Axe Company, or the Cohoes Axe Manufacturing Company, or perhaps they were the same. I’ll have to axe the Google.

The Cohoes Cataract

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I my self this last Summer, saw a Cataract, three Leagues above Albany, in the Province of New York, upon Schenectada River called the Cohoes, which they count much of there; and yet that is not above 40 or 50 Foot perpendicular. From these Falls also there rises a mighty Cloud, which descends like small Rain, that, when the Sun shines, gives a handsome small Rainbow that moves as you move, according to the Angle of Vision. The River at the Cohoes is to 40 or 50 Rods broad, but then it is very shallow Water, for I was told that in a dry Time, the whole River runs in a Channel of not more than fifteen Foot wide.

In my Journey to Albany, 20 Miles to the Eastward of Hudson’s River, near the middle of a long rising Hill, I met with a brisk noisy Brook sufficient to serve a Water-Mill, and having observed nothing of it at the beginning of the Hill, I turned about and followed the Course of the Brook, till at length I found it come to an End, being Absorb’d, and sinking into the Ground, either passing through Subterraneous Passages, or soaked up with the Sand; and tho’ it be common in other Parts of the World for Brooks and even rivers thus to be lost; yet this is the first of the Sort, I have heard of, or met with in this Country.

An Account of the Falls of the River Niagara, taken at Albany, Octob. 10, 1721. From Monsieur Borassaw, a French Native of Canada. By the Honourable Paul Dudley, Esq.; F.R.S.

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Bears in the news

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Bears in the news? Nothing new. The Cohoes Cataract, 1849, reported on a resolution of the trustees of the village of Cohoes:

“Complaint having been made that Wm. H. Bortell has a bear near his house which is not safely secured, therefore Resolved: That the police constable be, and he is hereby ordered to direct the said Bortell in the name of the village to secure the said bear or remove him so as children and passengers shall not be exposed any longer.”

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