Cohoes, New York
The first residents of what would someday become the City of Cohoes were the mastodons some 10,000 years ago. One such was unearthed during the construction of Harmony Mill Number Three "the Mastodon Mill" in 1866. Today its bones lie in the State Museum in Albany while a furry replica can be seen at the Cohoes Library.
The first human residents of the area were the Mohawk Native Americans who hunted the lush forests, fished the bountiful rivers, and grew corn, squash, and beans in the rich earth.
In 1632 the majority of what would become the City of Cohoes was included in the Manor of Rensselaerwyck owned by Killiaen Van Rensselaer who leased the land to Dutch colonists.
During the French and Indian Wars, Van Schaick Island (formerly known as Cohoes Island and Anthony's Island) was a hub on the military road that ran from Albany to the islands at the junction of the Mohawk and Hudson Rivers. In 1730 The Van Schaick Mansion on Van Schaick Island was built and later became one of military headquarters during the American Revolution General Philip Schuyler and General Horatio Gates.
After the war, settlers came from New England and New York City. In 1795 a bridge across the Mohawk River was constructed linking Cohoes to the larger settlements of Lansingburg in Rensselaer County, Albany, and points north.
In 1811 the Cohoes Manufacturing Company opened a factory for the manufacture of screws. This was the first large industry in Cohoes to use the power of the Mohawk River and Cohoes Falls.
In 1820 the first textile mill in Albany County was built to process the vast amounts of cotton grown by slaves in the southern states.
In 1825 the Erie and Champlain canals met in Cohoes. The canal system brought commerce and settlers from Europe through the Port of New York City and greatly improved the local economy as well as the economy of Western New York State. The canal is 363 miles long and contains 36 locks with a total elevation differential of about 565 feet.
In 1832, a new dam on the Mohawk River was built order to regulate water flow for industrial use. Two canals extended from the dam provided water power for the ironworks and textile industries.
In 1836 the Harmony Manufacturing Company was founded. By 1872 the mill complex was considered to be the largest in the world. The mill was converted to luxury loft apartments in 2013.
In the 1840s the Great Famine brought Irish and other European immigrants to Cohoes to work in the mills. French Canadians also arrived in large numbers.
In 1848, Cohoes was incorporated as a village within the town of Watervliet. In 1869 it was chartered as The City of Cohoes.
The population of Cohoes as of the 2010 census was 16,169, a gain of 677 from the 2000 census. There are over 7,000 households and 3,902 families living in the city.
The ethnic origins of the city is 84% Caucasian, 12% African American, 3% are Hispanic or Latino. Less than 1% are Native American, Asian, Pacific Islander, or other.