Cohoes in Albany County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Erie Canal
Power Canal Park | Cohoes NY
The Erie Canal flowed through Cohoes along two distinct paths during the 19th century. The first phase, 1825-1841, is commonly referred to as "Clinton's Ditch" after New York Governor DeWitt Clinton, who was the foremost advocate for construction of the canal. This canal flowed through the site on which you are standing. From 1842 to early 20th century, the enlarged Erie Canal flowed along a route slightly to the west of this site (uphill from where you are standing). The Erie Canal traversed New York, connecting Albany and the Hudson River in the east with Buffalo and the Great Lakes in the west. Cohoes and its industries benefited greatly from the increased ease of shipping raw materials in and finished products out along the canal.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, May 6, 2011
1. The Erie Canal Marker
The Enlarged Erie
The enlarged Erie Canal, opened in April 1842, was the largest hydraulic project of the 19th century. The enlarged canal was 350 miles long, and was both wider (70 feet) and deeper (7 feet) than the original canal. It had double-chamber locks to permit barge travel in both directions, with 72 lift locks; 10 of these (Locks 9-18) were in Chohes, the greatest concentration
of locks along the Erie Canal. Many of these limestone locks can still be seen today. Lock 18 (shown above) is a fine example of the double-chambered locks, and can be found north of this site on the western side of North Mohawk Street.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, May 6, 2011
2. The Erie Canal Marker
"Clinton's Ditch" - The Original Erie Canal
The original canal was 40 feet wide and 4 feet deep, and 363 miles long. The system had 83 single-chamber locks, with 19 of them in Cohoes to surmount the Cohoes Falls. "Clinton's Ditch" was a surprising success but was soon found inadequate for the shipping traffic that developed. In 1836 work was begun on an enlargement of the canal to speed transport. The new and enlarged canal was built several hundred feet west of this site; it was opened for shipping in 1842.
What became of "Clinton's Ditch"?
Upon completion of the enlarged Erie Canal, the Canal Corporation abandoned "Clinton's Ditch." The old canal property in Cohoes was transfered to the Cohoes Company, which converted much of it to power canals for the mills, giving the original Erie Canal a second life in Cohoes as a generator of power for industry.
You are standing in a former portion of "Clinton's Ditch", one of the last visible remnants of the Original Erie Canal in Cohoes, which later saw use as a power canal. At
the southern end of this park are the remnants of Lock 39 of the original Erie Canal. About 500 feet to the north of this site, Locks 37 and 38 of the canal lie under the pump house and adjacent building.
By Howard C. Ohlhous, April 7, 2011
3. The Erie Canal Marker
The Erie Canal Marker is in the south end of the Power Canal Park. The rest of the drained power canal can be seen beyond the marker in the background.
Erected 2004 by City of Cohes.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Erie Canal marker series.
Location. 42° 46.765′ N, 73° 42.203′ W. Marker is in Cohoes, New York, in Albany County. Marker can be reached from North Mohawk Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. The marker is beside the footpath at the south end of the Power Canal Park. Marker is in this post office area: Cohoes NY 12047, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Cohoes Mastodont (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Cohoes Mastodon (approx. 0.3 miles away); Cohoes - Waterford Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away); Horace B. Silliman (approx. 0.4 miles away); First Power Mill for the Manufacture of Knit Fabrics (approx. 0.4 miles away); Egberts & Bailey Mill (approx. 0.4 miles away); Cohoes City Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Park Named Craner * Cohoes Recalls a Hero (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cohoes.
Also see . . .
By Howard C. Ohlhous
4. The Power Canal; Now & Then
On the left the Erie Canal Marker is mounted in the bed of the former power canal. On the right is the power canal in a photo from the Historic American Building Survey from 1969. The Harmony Mill #3 is the large sructure in the upper right in both photos.
1. Images of the Erie Canal in Cohoes. (Submitted on May 19, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
2. Cohoes Company Power Canal System, Level 2, North Mohawk Street, Cohoes, Albany, NY HABS. (Submitted on May 19, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York.)
Categories. • Waterways & Vessels •
By Howard C. Ohlhous, March 16, 2011
5. The Power Canal
This view of the power canal is on display in the Cohoes City Hall building.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 7, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. This page has been viewed 1,019 times since then and 69 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 7, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 2. submitted on May 8, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 19, 2011, by Howard C. Ohlhous of Duanesburg, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.