When the last Ice Age began to melt 22,000 years ago, the Mohawk River flowed with more force than Niagara Falls. The deluge of water that was released was so great that it carved an entirely new riverbed.
Eventually, the glacier receded and the Mohawk River settled into its new banks, ready to greet the settlers making their way across the Atlantic to colonize the Mohawk River valley.
The colonists realized that deeper water would make it easier for boats to navigate through the shallows of the Mohawk. The Dutch and the British began building wing dams, the first step in humans changing the course of the river.
By the early 1700s, boats called bateaux filled Schenectady’s waters. Bateaux, with pointed ends and flat bottoms, could more easily navigate through the Mohawk River’s treacherous obstacles.
This week on The Historians Podcast, a look at the history of the Mohawk River with Mary Zawacki, executive director of the Schenectady County Historical Society. Much of this story was previously published in New York Almanack.
You can listen to the podcast here.
You will find more podcasts and stories at bobcudmore.com.
For a full list of this week’s New York Almanack podcasts announcements click HERE.