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SCHENECTADY DIGITAL HISTORY ARCHIVE

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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Chapter 101: The Mohawk Turnpike and Valley Highway System.

[This information is from Vol. II, pp. 1465-1480 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. Some images have been relocated to the area in the text where they are discussed. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Biographies | Illustrations | Maps | Portraits

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The old Mohawk Turnpike, Great Western Turnpike and Seneca Road — Branch roads leading from the turnpike to Sharon Springs, Lake George, Lake Champlain, Canada, Schoharie Valley, Sacandaga Trail, Sharon Springs, Cherry Valley, Otsquago Trail, Garoga Trail, Dolgeville, Paines Hollow, West Canada Creek, Leatherstocking Trail, Ilion Gulph, Frankfort Gulph, Saquoit and Oriskany Valleys, Black River, Thousand Islands, Lansing Kill, Lake Ontario — Enormous traffic over the Mohawk Turnpike — South Shore Mohawk Turnpike improvements.

The Great Western Gateway Bridge leads from Schenectady to the Old Mohawk Turnpike, starting its westward course at Scotia, on the north bank of the Mohawk opposite Schenectady. The Old Mohawk Turnpike and the Mohawk River and old Erie Canal (1825-1917) formed a great highway and waterway route over which hundreds of thousands of settlers migrated to people the great West. In the 80-mile route to Utica there was a tavern for every mile, many of which, now farm houses or dwellings, are still standing. This emigration traffic later went over the New York Central Railroad. The Old Mohawk Turnpike forms the central section of the New York-Buffalo Highway which runs through the Mohawk Valley for 101 miles — from Karners, seven miles west of Albany to three miles east of Vernon, thirteen miles west of Utica.

Its westward course to Rome runs through about fifteen miles of city and village streets and about 80 miles of picturesque and productive farming country, the Mohawk River flats being among the most fertile lands in the world, the black soil having a depth of fifteen feet in places. Dairying is the principal agricultural occupation, with hay, oats, barley, and buckwheat the principal crops, besides considerable fruit production. The Valley is one of the country's greatest hay raising sections.

The fifteen miles of city and village streets you pass through, comprise one of America's important industrial sections, with 87,000 manufacturing operatives. Its industries are here briefly summarized, under the different towns, where many of the greatest inventions of the world have been conceived and perfected.

[Map: The Old Mohawk Turnpike]

During the entire 95-mile Schenectady to Rome route, side roads lead from the Turnpike north and south to many resorts and much picturesque and attractive country of fields, forest, rivers, mountains and lakes, the great Adirondack region lying ten to twenty miles north of the Turnpike throughout its course from Schenectady to Utica, 80 miles. The Catskill region is reached at Cherry Valley and in the Schoharie Valley.

In this work the north and south shore Mohawk turnpikes are considered as one, paralleling each other as they do and running so closely together. In 1925 only the Old Mohawk Turnpike on the north shore was improved throughout its entire length of 95 miles, but the south shore turnpike will doubtless soon be similarly improved to take its share of the great motor car traffic through the Mohawk Valley.

The Old Mohawk Turnpike represents the gradual development of the old north shore Mohawk Indian trail. It has also been called the Iroquois Trail (Albany to Buffalo, 305 miles), of which it forms one-third of its mileage. In the early days it was known somewhat, it is said, as the Albany road and the Albany turnpike, as this like nearly all valley roads, led eventually to Albany in the early days of the Colony and State.

The development of the Old Mohawk Turnpike as an automobile road began about 1900. It has since grown into the greatest automobile trunk line highway in the United States. The improvement of the Mohawk Turnpike and its branch Valley highways by surfacing with macadam and concrete has been coincidental with their traffic development. It is impossible to cover this part of our Valley highway development except to say that this road improvement took place in the period from 1905 to 1925.

The Old Mohawk Turnpike carries the motor car traffic to and from New York City.

City and the Atlantic coastal states which comes up the Albany Post Road and the Storm King Highway, while it also receives the load of traffic from the New England roads running into Albany and particularly the Boston and Albany highway. At its western end, the Mohawk Turnpike receives the great traffic coming over the Seneca Road from Buffalo and the Western States as well as the load which reaches Rome and Utica from Canada, Northern New York, the Thousand Islands and. St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

At all chief points it takes main highways to the north into the Adirondack region as well as routes to the south into the Schoharie and Susquehanna. It is indeed "The Old Mohawk Turnpike — America's Greatest Motor Car Highway."

The Old Mohawk Turnpike carries not only a great load of touring and local passenger traffic but a great freight tonnage in motor trucks. Local motor passenger buses cover a great part of its length while the great long distance touring buses cover its entire length. It is a road with a mighty present and a tremendous future.

The length of the sections of the New York-Buffalo highway are as follows, with relation to the old turnpikes: New York to Albany (Albany Post Road), 149 miles; Albany to Schenectady (Mohawk and Hudson Turnpike), 15 miles; Schenectady to Utica (Old Mohawk Turnpike), 80 miles; Utica to Buffalo (Seneca Road), 204 miles; total New York-Buffalo highway, 448 miles. The Albany-Buffalo route is generally divided as follows: Albany to Syracuse, 145 miles; Syracuse to Buffalo, 154 miles; total Albany-Buffalo highway, 299 miles.

The Old Mohawk Turnpike of the present day is generally considered as the road from Schenectady to Rome, although the original Mohawk Turnpike ran only to Utica. The Turnpike from Schenectady to Rome is 95 miles long — roughly considered a "century of miles."

Many of the old Turnpike inns, now used as farmhouses, are still standing all along this old highway. There are six of them between Schenectady and Amsterdam.

Several of these old taverns have largely reverted to their original mission as wayside inns, together with later Turnpike farmhouses which give board or furnish meals and refreshments and provide parking places for motorists as well as tenting and camping grounds.

As on other main American highways, farmers along the Old Mohawk Turnpike have created a considerable trade in farm produce, poultry, etc., with the great motoring public constantly passing their doors.

The present Mohawk Turnpike is an important link of the greatest national automobile road — the New York-Buffalo Highway. It carries an increasing amount of freight traffic as well as passenger motor car travel which comes from every part of the United States. Plans were formulated in 1920, by State Highway Commissioner Greene to increase the width of the Turnpike from 18 to 24 feet, with a six-foot strip of bitumen and a nine-foot strip of concrete on each side.

It will eventually be necessary to improve both the north and south shore turnpikes to carry the great load of automobile travel through the Mohawk Valley. The roads are "twins" and both are largely covered in this book.

State Engineer Williams in 1922 proposed making the old Erie Canal towpath on the south river shore into a state highway, extending from Schenectady to Buffalo. This would give a much needed third highway through the Mohawk Valley — an eventual necessity.

In the 95-mile run from Schenectady to Rome there are many interesting side trips available over main automobile roads running north into the Adirondack country and south into the Schoharie and Susquehanna valleys. These are noted at the points of junction of these roads with the Mohawk Turnpike.

It is intended eventually to mark the Old Mohawk Turnpike with distinctive pole signs. This particular link of the Albany-Buffalo highway has been frequently misnamed on automobile touring maps. The historic sites along the Old Mohawk Turnpike will also eventually be marked with suitable and informing signs and directions.

The present traffic over the Mohawk Turnpike is so great that plans are constantly brought forward for the development of its paralleling south shore highway — which is bound to be soon improved, because of the traffic load on the north side. The south Mohawk shore highway, in 1925, was developed throughout 38 miles of its 95 from Schenectady to Rome. Plans were then ready for an additional nine miles to be begun in 1925, while a proposition for a 31-mile stretch from Pattersonville to Fort Plain had been defeated as a part of the State Highway bill of 1924. The latter construction is bound to come, and, with the projected eight-mile link, from Oriskany village to Rome, it is very probable that the improved south Mohawk shore highway will be developed and improved long before 1935. Such improvement will make the Mohawk Valley one of the most intensively developed transportation lines in the world — with the Central, the only six-track railroad; the Barge Canal, greatest of artificial internal waterways; and two great motor routes — four important trunk lines of land and water transportation forming the greatest transportation belt on earth.

The following branch lines from the Old Mohawk Turnpike are mentioned. The Mohawk Turnpike is now considered as beginning at the eastern end of the Great Western Gateway Bridge where the south shore Mohawk Turnpike also branches southward with a branch from South Schenectady running into the Schoharie Valley. This historic route is therefore also given description. The south shore highway from Schenectady to Rotterdam (five miles west) is a pleasing route, particularly as it approaches Yantapucha, the mountain to the west of Schenectady on the south shore. On the southern slopes of the Yantapuchaberg flows the Platterkill, with its picturesque upper and lower falls and having a trail running along it, making it accessible from the South Shore Road. Near Rotterdam is the Mabie farmhouse, built in 1670, and the oldest structure in the Mohawk Valley. A return may be made to the Old Mohawk Turnpike by crossing the Rotterdam Barge Canal Bridge dam. The western part of Schenectady County was known in Colonial and Revolutionary times as the "Woestyne" or "Westina" meaning the "wilderness" or waste land.

This south shore turnpike is the shortest and easiest route to the Schoharie Valley and its villages of Middleburg, Schoharie and Cobleskill, near which is Howe's Cave. At Schoharie is the old Schoharie Reformed Dutch Church, built in 1770 and made into a Revolutionary American fort in 1776. It is controlled now by the Schoharie County Historical Society and houses an interesting historical collection. The picturesque Schoharie trip is well worth taking.

At Duanesburg the Schoharie route crosses the Great Western Turnpike (running from Albany to Syracuse) about fifteen miles south of the Old Mohawk Turnpike.

This old Indian trail was so named and improved in 1800. It carried much of the traffic from Albany in the great days of emigration to the West. The Great Western Turnpike runs west from Albany through Sharon Springs, Cherry Valley, Richfield Springs, West Winfield, Bouckville, Cazenovia, Manlius and Fayetteville to Syracuse.

At the western end of the Great Western Gateway Bridge the Saratoga road leads north from the Mohawk Turnpike. This was once the great Indian trail from Canada. Lake Champlain and Lake George to the Mohawk at Schenectady. The Saratoga trail runs north to Ballston Spa, Saratoga, Lake George, Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. At Ballston Spa was born Major Gen. Abner Doubleday, a distinguished Union general who invented baseball at Cooperstown in 1840.

Leaving the Mohawk Turnpike west of Hoffmans station, a road leads up Touareuna hill through Wolf Hollow, in which runs the Chaughtanoonda. This is the famous Mohawk-Mohican battleground referred to and is worth a visit for its wild picturesqueness. At the first sharp bend in the hollow, is "Johnny's Spring," a good picnicking spot. Unsuccessful attempts at coal mining were made here, the shaft opening being called the "Coal Mine".

Thirty species of ferns and some uncommon orchids are here found. Wolf Hollow marks a tremendous earthquake of past geological ages, the rock displacement here evidenced, being called the "Hoffman's Ferry Fault." This geological disturbance outrivaled any earthquake of history, the rock crust to the east having dropped 1,000 feet.

A cave in the northern cliff is called "the Bear's Den".

The Wolf Hollow road forms a short cut to Saratoga (twenty-four miles) for the east-bound motorist, via Glenville, West Charlton, Scotch Street, thence on the State road through Ballston to Saratoga.

Kinquariones and Wolf Hollow would make a fine state park site, being accessible and available to the thousands of motorists on the Old Mohawk Turnpike.

Automobile roads run northeast from Amsterdam to Saratoga, north into the Adirondacks and south into the Schoharie.

A direct route runs south from Fultonville through Glen and Sammonsville to and through the Schoharie Valley, branching at Central Bridge onto the Albany, Cobleskill, Oneonta Binghamton highway. The direct route southward from Central Bridge may be continued through Schoharie, Middleburg and Breakabeen into the Catskills to Catskill on the Hudson.

Fonda is a Gateway to the Adirondacks, running north over the Sacandaga Trail through Johnstown and Gloversville to Northville, on the Sacandaga. Branches run from Johnstown to the Garoga and Canada lakes group, the most southerly in the Adirondacks.

There is a fine upland road running east from Johnstown, through Broadalbin, Hagerdorn's Mills and East Galway to Saratoga Springs. Westward from Johnstown it runs through Garoga, Lassellsville, Dolgeville, Salisbury Center, Salisbury to Middleville on the West Canada creek road, which can be continued through Poland, Gravesville (1924) Barneveld to the Black river road to the Thousand Islands and Canada. This road has several branches south to valley towns. This road parallels the Mohawk Turnpike on the north side of the valley just as the Great Western Turnpike does on the south side.

These broad and beautiful upland views cannot be obtained on the Turnpike road. In taking them it is advisable, as in all side trips, to consult local garages, etc., as to present road conditions. On these routes west the tourist misses much of historic and scenic interest along the Mohawk, including the beautiful scenery at the Noses. In making a west and east trip through the valley, it is advisable to go an upland route one way and the Turnpike route the reverse route. The Mohawk Valley has so many historic and scenic points of interest that several tours should be made through it and all interesting and important localities should be covered.

The Sacandaga trail north to Lake Champlain is now followed by the road to Northville, which reaches Northville 17 m., Speculator 42 m., and thence to Piseco lake. From Northville it runs to Lake George, 53 m. northeast of Gloversville.

This is the trail over which Sir John Johnson escaped to Canada when the American authorities were entering Johnstown to arrest him in 1776. Over this trail Johnson and an enemy war party of 500 Tories and Indians came south on May 21, 1780, and entered Johnstown at midnight, plundering, burning and killing. The next night these raiders escaped north by another trail. This forest trail was a difficult point to defend and there was much skirmishing and scouting along it in the Revolution. An American blockhouse was built (1779) on the Sacandaga at Northville as an outpost. It was successfully defended, in April, 1780, by a heroic American soldier, Woodworth (later killed at Fairfield), who fought off a party of seven Indians singlehanded. In French-British wars, Canadian-French and Indians descended by this trail to the Mohawk to burn and massacre.

Six miles northeast of Gloversville, over this trail, is the Sacandaga Vly (Vly or Vlaie is Dutch for swamp, swampy stream and sometimes for natural meadow). This is one of the largest Adirondack marshes. The road to Northville runs along its western edge. The Vly will soon be covered by the Sacandaga storage reservoir, which will form artificial Sacandaga Lake, thirty-five miles long, from Northville to Conklingville.

Because of its accessibility as both the largest and most southerly Adirondack lakes, Sacandaga Lake promises to become the most popular summer and winter resort in the Adirondacks.

Canajoharie forms the western gateway to the Schoharie valley and the Catskill mountain road reaching the Hudson, 100 miles distant at Catskill. The eastern valley gateway to the Schoharie is at Schenectady. The Canajoharie-Catskill route runs to Sharon Springs, 11 m.; Cobleskill, 23 m.; Middleburg, 35 m.; Breakabeen, 43 m.; Prattsville, 62 m.; Catskill, 98 m. At Cobleskill is a New York State Agricultural college, and important hydraulic cement works, with Howe's Cave, a few miles distant. From Middleburg south the route is through the wild, forest mountain Catskill country. This route to Catskill is 10 miles longer than that by way of the Mohawk Turnpike, Albany and the Hudson west shore highway.

[Photo: Village of Middleburgh]

[Photo: Mohegouter Mountain, from Top of Mt. Onistagrawa]

The most extensive view of the Mohawk Valley, obtainable at any point, may be had on the Canajoharie-Sharon Springs-Cherry Valley road, between Sharon Springs and Cherry Valley, at the point formerly known as the Prospect House. It is one of the finest views in the East.

The Catskill Trail meets the Schenectady-Binghamton road at Cobleskill.

The tourist, going west, can take a detour 4 miles north from Palatine Bridge to the historic Stone Arabia churches. He can return to the Mohawk Turnpike at Nelliston, 4 miles west from the churches.

On clear days the Cherry Valley mountains, 12 to 15 miles southward, may be seen rising over a fertile farming plateau. The Stone Arabia section, with its two interesting old churches, is historically most important. As previously mentioned it was one of the first (1712) locations of Palatine German settlement in America and it was an important Revolutionary point.

In the detour north, the tourist rises from a Mohawk Turnpike sea elevation of 340 feet, to a sea elevation of 820 feet at the Stone Arabia Reformed church, close to which Nelliston Creek has its source.

The Palatine Bridge, Stone Arabia road, is being extended to Ephratah where a hard road runs north to Rockwood, from which place the motorist can run north over a Garoga Creek gravel road striking the Johnstown road to Garoga and Canada lakes. This will soon be an important Adirondack route.

From Canajoharie, roads run southwest, south and southeast to Cherry Valley (19 m.), Otsego lake, Sharon Springs (11 m.), Cobleskill (23 m.), the Schoharie River and thence through the Catskills to the Hudson River at Catskill.

The mineral waters and baths at Sharon Springs are not surpassed by any of a similar kind in the United States. In the early and middle nineteenth century this Mohawk Valley upland village was a fashionable watering place. On clear days, from Sharon Springs and vicinity, one may look eastward far into the Adirondacks.

The road from Canajoharie to Sharon Springs and Cherry Valley was the one followed by Gen. Clinton's left wing in his march from the Mohawk at Canajoharie to Otsego Lake in 1779. His center followed Clinton's Road or the Continental Road, which begins at the Seeber Lane road, where it joins the Canajoharie and Happy Hollow roads.

The road from Fort Plain-Nelliston to Stone Arabia joins the Palatine Bridge concrete road at the Stone Arabia churches. The Garoga-Adirondack Trail running south from Piseco Lake will thus soon have an outlet southward to Fort Plain and thence over the Otsquago Trail to Otsego Lake, Cooperstown, Oneonta and Binghamton and on to Philadelphia and Washington.

Fort Plain, by the Otsquago Trail to Otsego Lake, Cooperstown and Richfield Springs, is a natural Mohawk valley outlet to the Susquehanna headwater region, much used (as well as the Canajoharie road) in pioneer days. Cooperstown is noted as the home and burial place of James Fenimore Cooper, the early American novelist, who made Otsego Lake (Glimmerglass) famous in his romances. Cooperstown is equally famous as the scene of the invention of the modern game of baseball. Abner N. Doubleday, then a cadet at West Point, there created baseball for the boys of Green's school, who played the first game in Cooperstown in 1840. Young Doubleday was later a U. S. A. Major-General, holding the Union line on the first day at Gettysburg, July 1, 1863.

Automobile roads lead s. w. to Otsego Lake, 19 m.; Cooperstown, 28 m.; Richfield Springs on Canadarago Lake, 23 m.; s. e. to Cherry Valley, 12 m.; to Sharon Springs, 12 m. Cherry Valley is famous as the scene of a terrible Revolutionary massacre by Tories and Indians under Brant and Butler, Nov. 11, 1778, when soldiers from Fort Plain arrived too late to prevent the slaughter.

This historic automobile road running from Fort Plain, along the Otsquago, and thence over the divide to Otsego Lake is the famous Otsquago Trail, the most direct route from the Mohawk valley to Cooperstown and Otsego Lake. It passes through the little villages of Hallsville, 4 m., Starkville, 8 m., Van Hornesville, 12 m., and Springfield Centre, 17 m., to Otsego Lake, 19 m., and Cooperstown, 28 m. The character of the landscape of the Otsquago valley is like a miniature Mohawk valley. The scenery at the Van Hornesville Gorge is very beautiful. In this Gorge is a small cave and a burning spring — a vent of burning gas from a pocket of natural gas, which are not infrequent along the southern half of the Mohawk watershed. The original Otsquago trail of the Mohawks ran from Fort Plain, over the plain of the high northern bank of the Otsquago valley, to Hallsville. A road was later built along the creek. This route to Otsego Lake over the Otsquago Trail is a favorite automobile road and carries an enormous summer traffic.

Mr. Owen D. Young, chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Electric Co., and a member of the Paris Reparations Committee, which prepared the Dawes plan for German reparations in 1924, and the Agent General of Reparations is a native and a (1924) citizen of Van Hornesville.

Westward from Fort Plain, the Dutchtown road is a crosscut State road running north and west to Indian Castle 11 m. and the Gen. Herkimer home 14 m., reaching the Turnpike at Finks Bridge, 15 m. It is one of the many valley roads roughly paralleling the Turnpike which cut off river bends. This road (going westward over a fine upland plateau of farmlands, 500 ft. above the Mohawk) has splendid wide views of the Cherry Valley Mountains to the south, the Adirondacks to the north and, approaching it, Fall Hill and the valley to the west. In making a double tour (coming and going) of the Mohawk valley this is a good road to take one way as it is one of the most picturesque along the Mohawk and gives a splendid outlook on the full width of the valley.

This route gives a splendid idea of the real Mohawk Valley, from 10 to 50 miles wide. The narrow inner Valley, seen from the Mohawk Turnpike, consists of the flats, which was the bed of the ancient great Iromohawk, the slopes which formed its banks and the adjoining Valley hills. The real Mohawk Valley extends from the northern Adirondack divide to the southern Catskill divide, a great breadth of country, seen to advantage from this historic road.

Roads run north from St. Johnsville to Dolgeville and to the Johnstown-Dolgeville-Middleville upland Valley highway. A road north from East Creek, through Ingham's Mills also meets this highway at Dolgeville.

Roads run north from Little Falls to Spruce Lake and the Johnstown-Dolgeville-Middleville highway at Dolgeville; and south through Paines Hollow to Jordanville, Richfield Springs, Schuyler Lake, Little Lakes, Otsego Lake, Cooperstown and the Susquehanna Valley. When the accompanying map was drawn, the Little Falls road to Paines Hollow had not been built.

The West Canada Creek or Kuyahoora valley is a beautiful and fertile farming and dairying region. It affords a picturesque tour from Herkimer northward to Trenton Falls, the Black River road and the Fulton Chain and Adirondack road at Alder Creek. On the Kuyahoora Trail are Middleville, Newport, Poland and Cold Brook. At Newport the first Yale locks were made in 1840.

Fulmer Creek, which enters the Mohawk at Mohawk Village, is followed southeasterly by an automobile highway running, by way of Jordanville, to Richfield Springs, Canadarago Lake, Otsego lake, Cooperstown and Oneonta, all located on the headwaters of the great Susquehanna valley. This follows an important old Iroquois trail over which Brant came, in 1778, with his Tories and Indians, to lay waste to German Flats, as well as other Revolutionary raiding parties. This road is known today as the "Leatherstocking Trail."

One of the most picturesque scenic features of the Mohawk Valley is the beautiful deep ravine extending southwestwardly from Ilion along Steele's creek and its western branch nearly to Cedarville, an airline distance of over five miles. This small canyon is known as the Ilion Gulph and its creek as the Gulph stream. Its rocky walls rise in steep cliffs, at one point, four miles south of Ilion, reaching a height of 700 feet above the brook and a sea level elevation of 1,580 feet for this summit. This beautiful route forms a natural gateway to the headwaters of the Unadilla River, a main headwater stream of the Susquehanna, which rises 8 miles southwest of Ilion near Dayville. The Ilion Gulph is resorted to by geologists for the collection of fossils and the geological study of this deepest of Mohawk Valley ravines.

The Ilion Gulph is commercially important as the site of the second Remington rifle factory (1816, the first being on the farm at Crane's Corners). The old stone forge is marked by a tablet alongside the Gulf road.

An automobile highway runs up the Gulph from Ilion to Cedarville and thence to West Winfield, on the Unadilla River and the Great Western Turnpike, there connecting with Richfield Springs, Otsego Lake, Cooperstown, Cherry Valley and Sharon Springs and roads running south, from West Winfield, down the Unadilla and the Susquehanna, to Binghamton.

Moyer Creek enters the river at Frankfort. It rises seven miles airline distance, west from its outlet, at the foot of Frankfort Hill (1,379 ft.). Three miles southwest, the Gulph hill rises to 1,500 ft. Two miles east Dutch Hill rises to 1,060 feet elevation. Moyer Creek follows a deep ravine, south of Frankfort, known as the Gulph. The Gulph begins about two miles southwest of Frankfort and extends three miles to Gulph. It is a picturesque ravine similar to Ilion Gulph, only not so deep, and a road follows the creek through its entire distance. At their highest point, its bordering cliffs rise to a height of 400 feet above the creek. Moyer Creek's headwaters flow within a half mile of the source of the Unadilla (Cedar Lake creek) at Dayville, 7 miles airline distance southwest of Frankfort. This is the most northerly headwater source of the Susquehanna and the closest to the Mohawk.

The old Seneca Road section of the New York-Buffalo automobile highway skirts the northern base of the foothills from Utica to Syracuse, 50 m. w. This is the present (1924) main route of this great highway between these two cities.

In 1921 a movement was inaugurated to make the New York-Buffalo Highway a "Road of Memory," with hundreds of thousands of native trees planted along its 450-mile length to commemorate the brave sons of New York state who fell in the World war. The initial planting of these memorial trees was scheduled for 1921 when 20,000 elms were to be set out on the Utica-Syracuse section.

Genesee street, one of America's most beautiful avenues, is the backbone of Utica and its most characteristic feature. It runs from old Deerfield Corners, on the Mohawk Turnpike in present Utica, west to beyond New Hartford, in which six miles it is built up the entire distance. Actually the same street is building northward, on the Black River road, so that Genesee street before many years, will extend as a built up tree-lined street from Deerfield Hills to Clinton and Hamilton College, a distance of twelve miles. From Baggs Square to beyond Hopper street Genesee street is a business street, traversing the heart of the business section, which is rapidly encroaching on the Genesee street residential section, southwest. Many of Utica's finest business buildings and residences lie on Genesee street.

Genesee street was originally the Indian trail to the Seneca country, later known as the Genesee Road and improved as the Seneca Road in 1800, by which name this beginning of the road to Buffalo is known today. The trail from Old Fort Schuyler and the Mohawk river passed over present Park avenue and met the Genesee trail at present Oneida Square.

Genesee street is the Mohawk river crossroads of a trail which runs from the St. Lawrence river to Utica and thence by forks south to Chesapeake Bay and west to Buffalo.

At Utica the New York-Buffalo highway has a sea level elevation of about 440 feet, the same as that of the divide at Karner's, between Albany and Schenectady. The Utica-Syracuse highway reaches its highest point at Lairdsville, 10 miles west of Utica and 3 miles west of Kirkland, at a sea elevation of 720 feet.

Utica is the "Cross-Roads of New York" on the most important automobile route in the world — the albany to Buffalo Highway (Iroquois Trail), comprising the Mohawk Turnpike in its eastern section (Albany to Utica) and the Seneca Road in its western section (Utica to Buffalo).

Utica is a center where several automobile trunk lines meet. They radiate north, south, east and west from Utica. The foregoing railroad routes are practically paralleled by these important highroads and they are important as freight as well as passenger motor car routes. Motorists run north over these roads to the Adirondacks, Thousand Islands and Canada, and south to the Susquehanna Valley. The Mohawk Turnpike here connects with the Seneca Road westward to Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo and thence to Chicago and the Pacific Coast.

On the western limits of Whitesboro, and over one mile east of Oriskany, is the Barge Canal Lock No. 20, which is the eastern lock of the canal summit level running westward 18 m., to New London, marking the divide between the waters of the Great Lakes and the Atlantic seaboard. This Oriskany lock raises the water from a sea level elevation of 404 feet below to 420 feet sea elevation of the summit level above the lock.

A bridge crosses the canal just above this lock. Over it a highway runs north through Marcy to the Black river and Adirondack roads which diverge at Barneveld.

From Rome, main automobile routes run northwesterly through Camden to Pulaski and Oswego on the Lake Ontario road, running from Niagara Falls to Ogdensburg.

The automobile route, along the Mohawk river and Lansing Kill north from Rome to Boonville, is one of the favorite picturesque drives in the western Mohawk Valley. Along the beautiful little upper valley of the Mohawk, one passes the State Fish Hatchery, attractive Lake Delta, where the Teugega Country Club has its house and golf links; and, three miles beyond, one comes to the little village of Westernville, 8 m. n. of Rome. In the Presbyterian church cemetery lies the grave of Gen. William Floyd, Signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Mohawk Valley people are justly proud to have had (1804-1821) as a citizen, General William Floyd, one of the makers of America and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and to point to his last resting place along the Mohawk. He was born at Brookhaven, L. I., in 1734, came to the township of Floyd in 1804 and died at Westernville in 1821. General Floyd was a prominent soldier and legislator.

We come to the end of the Old Mohawk Turnpike at the American Corner in Rome — a fitting name for the ending of the most American of American roads — a highway which should serve to quicken the pulse of every son and daughter of Uncle Sam and to renew our pledges of service and loyalty to the liberties of America, for which Americans fought, bled and died on the Old Mohawk Turnpike.

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