MOHAWK - Discovering the Valley of the Crystals Copyright 2002
Chapter 22 -(Section Two)
Along The Way
New Stuff is at the bottom of the page
Making Book is not an Exact Science
I've published five books, but I don't have a specific formula for turning experiences, research and photographs into a finished product. Each book was created for a different reason, under different circumstances and during a different period in my life. One thing they had in common: I controlled the process from beginning to end. I knew where I wanted to start, where I wanted to end, and what I wanted to include. I also completed the required research, and corrected most of the factual and grammatical errors before any of these books were ever printed.
This Mohawk Valley Book-In-Progress, however, has taken on a life of its own. It ebbs and flows like the rivers, streams and lakes I've explored. What I present depends on the season, the weather, assistance of family and friends, feedback from readers, available photographs and illustrations . . . and on my mood at the time.
Because this is a book-in-progress it includes sections that are not complete, and sometimes includes information that is not accurate. This "misinformation" is the result of personal observations, assumptions and hearsay that are not yet corroborated by research. Some of these inaccuracies are corrected as the result of feedback from readers. The rest are corrected by poring over books, documents, records and maps.
Trolley Not Railroad
For instance I had noted that the towering piers in the Mohawk River downstream from Schenectady once supported a railroad bridge. A reader informed me it was actually a trolley bridge that ran from Schenectady to an amusement park. I'll confirm that by additional research.
Two Aqueducts Not One
Likewise, I began a recent BIP addition by noting that the only Erie Canal aqueduct that crossed the Mohawk River was at the village of Aqueduct. I did so because I had "read it on the Internet" and because I had explored the entire river and didn't see remnants of another crossing. BUT, while I was studying an 1866 map of the Town of Clifton Park, I noted there was another crossing of the Mohawk at the present village of Crescent. I confirmed that crossing on an 1830 map of the Old Erie Canal.
Both of these inaccuracies have been corrected.
Take a Tour of the River
I've been working on the Chapter 11 - Discovery - Mohawk River - Top to Bottom to make it easier to follow the progress of exploration. Please take a tour of the river and let me know what you think. Note: all the segments have not been posted. Which reminds me . . .
Delta Lake Map in the Works
Delta Lake is the most productive fishery on the Mohawk River. I've explored and fished the lake in a canoe and by boat. For the past few weeks I've been working with Underwater Technologies (http://www.utmaps.com) create a three-dimensional map of Delta Lake to be included in the Mohawk River Chapter. Look for it in a future BIP addition.
Relief Maps of the Mohawk Valley in the Works
Thanks to the talents and generosity of Ray Sterner, we are also planning to include relief maps of the entire valley that will include waterways and place-names. Ray created the relief maps I used to explain the geologic history of the valley. See: Chapter 3 - What Created the Mohawk Valley?
These relief maps will not show the detail of topographic maps, so you should continue to use the Maptech link at the end of each segment for more detailed information. Topographic maps are published by the United States Geological Survey and many of them are outdated.
Wildlife Chapter Added to Book-In-Progress.
The responses to recent "articles" about wildlife indicate a keen interest in the wild critters that inhabit the Mohawk Valley. So, after much research, and reshuffling of titles and links, I've started Chapter 14 - Wonderful World of Wildlife. Each week I'll add new a new specie to the Identification Table. Photos and ariticles about wildlife will be added as they become available. As always your comments are appreciated.
River Chapter Completed
Except for some minor additions and adjustments the River Chapter is completed. Every section of the 161-mile Mohawk River has been explored, photographed and included in the BIP. The actual exploration started April 25, 2000 and ended October 3, 2002, but the work of conducting research, compiling notes, tables and photographs, and puting them all together took much, much longer. This one-of-a-kind undertaking---that includes all kinds of information about history, fishing, canoeing, wildlife, wildlfowers, wild places and wonders of nature---would not have been possible without the help of family and friends. I hope you will take the time to surf this chapter and begin your discovery of the Mohawk River. Give a click to start your tour.
Suggestions on how to improve this chapter are welcome. Send comments and suggestions to: M. Paul Keesler
Vacation 2003 - Escape From Winter
Please excuse the gap in posting additions to the BIP. I had every intention of providing new stuff every week of our vacation. I even bought a laptop computer, loaded it with Mohawk Valley research and photos, and subscribed to an internet service to allow me to do MY JOB on the road. The best laid plans . . .
We paddled our red canoe a mile across the ocean to reach this island off Cedar Key. Gert said, "If we don't get eaten by sharks in the ocean, we'll probably get eaten by alligators when we land on the island."
On March 5 Gert and I loaded up the Jeep, tied on the canoe and headed south where we visited relatives and friends, ate lots of seafood and did some exploring. I canoed a Louisiana Bayou near Baton Rouge with my son, Paul. Gert and I canoed to an island off Cedar Key in the Gulf of Mexico, and my brother-in-law, Denny and I canoe-fished the mangrove islands of the Banana River near Cocoa Beach.
We also visited Biloxi, Mississippi; St. Augustine, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina, and Mount Airy (alias Mayberry) North Carolina.
We arrived back in the Mohawk Valley this past Sunday (March 23). Glad to be home. And elated that most of the snow is gone so I can get back to discovering the Mohawk Valley. .
Crawfish Boil . . . Louisiana Style Canoeing a Louisiana Bayou. That's a big gator.
Blasted by the Worm - September 20, 2003
A few weeks ago my main computer was disabled by the Blaster Worm. I have great difficulty typing on a laptop, so I didn't post any additions to the BIP in recent weeks. I'm still exploring and will play catchup in the coming weeks.
Pushing Snow - Almost Made It.
While driving along Route 29 on Bartow Hill near Fairfield, we discovered this pickup truck burried in the snow. Looks like they almost made it to the road, but in reality the truck has been parked here for months.
I'm Working On IT June 26, 2004
Perhaps you've noticed that additions to the BIP have been few and far between lately. There are a couple of reasons for the lapse. First off, a new medication knocked me on my keester for about three months. There were so many nasty side effects I had to get off it. I may not live as long, but I sure am enjoying the time I have left a whole lot more.
Second, I've been converting these webpages from their HTML format to a word processing format, specifically to MS Word. Once I complete the conversion, it can be imported to Quark Xpress; the program that will "make book." I am not doing the "make book" conversion this time. After a five year lapse, it just takes too long to relearn the program and do the work. Thus far I've completed the conversion of The River Chapter. Would you believe the renditions of those discovery trips took more than 54,000 words?. That's a lot of pages, and doesn't even include photos and captions. Right now I'm working on The Tributaries Chapter, and it looks like it will be at least as long.
It is quite obvious that I cannot include everything in the book that I would like; no where near as much as on this website. So, sometime soon, I have to, as the old saying goes, "fish or cut bait." I have to decide what to use and what to omit. I believe the discovery trips are central to the book, so I plan to keep most of them, and rather than devote entire chapters to the history of the valley, I am considering inserting more references to historical events and places in the discovery trip chapters. I am interested in your comments in this regard.
In any case, just because I don't make weekly additions to the BIP, that doesn't mean I'm not working on the book.
It's Winding Down
It's October 30, 2004. I can see light at the end of the tunnel. I've explored the Mohawk River, and portions of most of its tributraries, and I've put those experiences on "paper." I have completed writing many of the chapters, written major portions of others, and Bob McNitt wrote the Forward. In fact, with some help from the folks at North Country Books, the book is starting to take shape. If all goes as planned, MOHAWK - Discovering the Valley of the Crystals should be published by September 2005.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!
I have some big decisions to make. Because this book will be very big and thus very expensive to produce, I have space limitations. For instance, I cannot possibly include all of the discovery trips on the tributaries So, I have to decide which trips to leave out. That will not be easy. They will of course remain on this website and on a MOHAWK - Discovering the Valley of the Crystals CD.
There are hundreds of color photographs on this website. I can use relatively few of them in the book, so I have to decide which to keep and which to chuck. Also not easy. And I have to decide whether to use a few good-size photographs to add to the artistic appeal of the book, or to use a number of small photographs to add information to the book. Perhaps a combination will work. Again all the photos will be on the website and the CD.
My original plan called for chapters on logging and farming. I am definitely not including a chapter on logging and may not include a chapter on farming. I covered both subjects in some detail in KUYAHOORA -Discovering West Canada Valley.
I like Used Book Stores (December 2004)
I have a thing for stores that sell used paperback books. Fact is, it was at a used book store, in of all places, Oklahoma City, where I discovered my first copy of Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter Edmonds. Sort of got me started on this discovery of the Mohawk Valley.
Another reason I like used book stores is because they sell the kind of books I like to read before drifting off to sleep, which are generally westerns, historical novels and seafaring adventures.
Over the years the used book stores in my area closed one by one until the only one left was the Book Man store in Rome. A few months ago it closed. Drats!
But alas, I recently discovered the Book Man has relocated to Main Street in Herkimer, just 20 minutes from my home. I spent an hour there last week and came home with an armload of westerns and seafaring paperbacks.
If you are looking for old paperbacks, Steve, the Book Man has thousands of them. You can tell him I sent you, but. don't ask him why he left Rome.
Mohawk Valley Trivia (January 2005)
Dave Scranton is the Editor of the Mohawk Valley Heritage magazine. A year or so ago I wrote an article for him, so I'm on his writers email list. A recent email (November 8, 2004) included a request. for some Quick Hits for the Winter issue. Dave explained that "Quick Hits" are one-sentence-or-less tidbits of all things Mohawk Valley."
I accepted the "challenge" and sent him these Quick Hits . . . off the top of my head. I was surprised how much I knew and actually remembered about the Mohawk Valley. Was fun. Thanks Dave for stimulating my grey cells and for providing this week's addition to the BIP.
The Mohawk River starts in a marsh atop Mohawk Hill some 30 miles north of Rome.
The Lansing Kill flows underground for more than a mile at the bottom of Boonville Gorge.
The Mohawk River between Delta Dam and Rome is prime fishing water.
The Rome Fish Hatchery raises almost two million fish each year.
The Rome Fish Hatchery was the site of the first cheese factory in the world. (Built in the 1850s)
The VanHornesville Fish Hatchery raises over 400,000 rainbow trout a year, and their ponds are almost always full of fish.
Remington Arms started in a small forge at the bottom of Ilion Gorge on Steele Creek.
West Canada Creek is so named because it was the western boundary of Sir William Johnson's 90,000-acre Royal Grant.
East Canada Creek is so named because it was the eastern boundary of Sir William Johnson's 90,000-acre Royal Grant.
Canada or Kanata means "village" in Mohawk and Oneida Indian languages.
The Mohawk Valley passes through The Noses just east of Canajoharie.
Cayadutta Creek, once called "Old Stinky" because of the pollution caused by tanneries in Gloversville and Johnstown, is now a trout stream.
There are more ancient Indian village sites along Caroga Creek than on any tributary in the Mohawk Valley.
Before the Barge Canal was ompleted in 1915, there was a gorge between Schenectady and Cohoes on the Mohawk River.
The Mohawk River is 161 miles long.
West Canada Creek was once called Teugega and considered the source of the Mohawk River.
The first Mohawk Castle on the south side of the river called Canajoharie was on Prospect Hill . . . at Fort Plain.
Schoharie Creek was named after an enormous pile of logs that once crossed the river near present day Middleburg.
Schenectady was once the only "walled city" in the Mohawk Valley.
The full skeleton of a mastodon, found at the bottom of a pothole at Cohoes in 1867, is on display in the lobby of the New York State Museum in Albany.
Cohoes Falls and Gorge are composed of layers of shale standing on end.
The major river crossing at Fort Schuyler (Utica) was created by rock and gravel from Reall Creek.
The earliest communities that grew up around mills on Mohawk Valley tributaries were often called “cities.”
Beardslee City on East Canada Creek disappeared soon after the Erie Canal was built.
There was a “lost city” at the bottom of Reall Creek Ravine.
The first canal in America was cut across a loop in the Mohawk River near present day Whitesboro in 1730.
The north-south boundary line between the Mohawk and Oneida nations crossed the Mohawk River at Frankfort in the 1700s.
Frankfort was named after a ford on the Mohawk called “Frank’s Ford.”
Alplaus and Alplaus Kill were so named because to the Dutch it was at the “Eel Place.”
The community of Aqueduct was named after the stone-arch aqueduct that carried the Old Erie Canal across the Mohawk.
Sauquoit Creek signifying “short and rapid” was also called Sadaquada, signifying "smooth round pebbles.”
Mohawk is not an Indian name, but an English corruption of a Dutch word (Mauquas) of a Mohican word (Mohowaug).
The Erie Canal was named after Lake Erie where the “Cat Nation” lived among mountain lions along the eastern shore.
Wolf Hollow was the site of the last battle between the Mohawks and Mohicans in 1669.
Randall was a major port on the Old Erie Canal for shipping hay downstate.
Public access to Lock 13 at Randall is through a tunnel that passes under the New York State Thruway.
There was a 500-foot waterfalls at Little Falls after the last Ice Age.
There are dozens of huge potholes in the dolostone on Moss Island at Little Falls that were created by turbulent water and swirling rock, gravel and sand.
Lock 17 at Little Falls was once the highest lift lock (40.5 feet) in the world.
Little Falls is located in a Mohawk River gorge.
Loggers on the south side of the river at Little Falls had to roll logs down the Rollaway to a sawmill.
Herkimer Diamonds were once called Little Falls Diamonds because they were discovered in abundance at Little Falls during the construction of the Erie Canal and the railroad.
Fonda was once called Caughnawaga, the name of the Mohawk Village that was there until destroyed by the French in 1693.
“Kateri Tekakwitha, a young Mohawk woman who lived at Caughnawaga is being considered for Sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church.
The National Kateri Shrine is located near Fonda (Caughnawaga).
There are shrines devoted to Kateri in Maine, Oklahoma, Michigan, Quebec Canada and Mexico.
Talked to An Old Friend (February 2005)
I shared this with a few friends and realtives and got such a positive reaction, I had to share it with you.
I met Harold Covey when I was researching the Farming Chapter of the Kuyahoora- Discvering West Canada Valley. He's an old time farmer who remembered a great deal about farming in the "old days", so he was a great source of information.
I got a phone call from Harold the other day. He wanted to know how I was doing. He said, "I was driving by your house on the way to Newport yesterday and saw all the ice piled up at Maine's Bend. I remember back in '39 when the ice built up so much on the creek that it took out some shacks along Fishing Rock Road near Middleville."
I recalled that Harold loved cheddar cheese, and ordered it through the mail. I asked him if he was still buying cheese from the same outfit. He said, "No, they went out of business, and besides you can never get good cheddar cheese unless it's made from raw milk. That will never happen again."
When I asked him what he was doing for fun. He said. "Well I can't run anymore since I broke my leg falling on the ice in 2002. Was my fault. Still putting hay in the barn tho. Last September I went on my first plane ride. We flew all around the area. I pointed out all the farms, and it was the first time I ever saw all of the Trenton Falls."
He wrapped up our conversation with, "Next time I drive down that way, I'll stop and see you."
I told him, "Anytime Harold."
Harold Covey is 99 years old.
When Jack Nicholson Was Young in the Mohawk Valley
This addition to the BIP is out and out bragging. We recieved the following essay from our 12-year old grandson recently, and can't resist sharing it. All the expereinces noted were in the Mohawk Valley.
Might Have to Put Wheels on This Book
For the past couple of months, in addition to including new stuff in the Mohawk Valley Book-In-Progress, with the help of a young fellow named Zach, I'm turning webpages into MOHAWK - Discovering the Valley of the Crystals book pages. It takes quite a bit of time for me to convert HTML webage material into MS Word text, and then editing it, before passing it on to Zach to convert it into a book format. Then we pass it back and forth a couple of times to make sure it looks goods and reads well. Thus far we have completed the TEXT for the River Chapter and the Tributaries Chapter, and right now Zach is working on the Canals Chapter. So far we have massaged and manipulated 120,000 words. Really. Might have to put wheels on this book.
What are Your Favorite Photogarphs in the BIP?
While all of the above is time consuming, the most difficult part of creating the book will be selecting which photographs to use. Only a fraction of the photos on the website can be used in the book. I have a number of favorites, such as the first photo http://www.paulkeeslerbooks.com/SauquoitCreek.html in the Sauquoit Creek piece, and the Little Falls aerial photo at: http://www.paulkeeslerbooks.com/LittleFalls.htm.
Just for the fun of it---and to help me out---I would appreciate it if you would let me know what your favorite photos are. So, when you get a chance, please scan through the photos and let me know if you have any favorites. I realize this is asking a lot, but it could really help me out.
Race of the Drunken Turtle June 9, 2005
Let’s make this short and sweet. From the very beginning completing this book has been a race with time. I’ve been fighting a protracted battle with nature for some time now--- old guy with heart disease and two kinds of cancer. In the past few months that battle has required a variety of medications, and more recently radiation treatments, designed to extend my life.
Fortunately, despite all of the above, I have completed exploring, photographing and writing about much of the Mohawk Valley, as this Book-In-Progress attests. Unfortunately, the side effects of medication and other treatments in recent months have sapped my strength and ability to focus. I expect to get back on track in a month or so, however, to insure that MOHAWK – Discovering the Valley of the Crystals is completed by the end of this year, I am enlisting the help of my wife Gert, daughter Bridget, and the folks at North Country Books and Danella Photography, to make it so.
Right now, as I plod along from day to day taking meds and treatments that more often than not mess up mind and body, my contribution to completing the book is like the race of a drunken turtle.
Send comments and suggestions to: M. Paul Keesler
Along the Way - Section One
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