The Town and Village of Canajoharie take their name from the ancient Mohawk village that was once located in this area. Known by many as"the Boiling Pot", the name accurately translated as "The Pot That Washes Itself" or "The Clean Pot."All of these variations refer to the distinctive circular hole in the rock bed of the Canajoharie Creek. Over ten feet deep and fifteen feet in diameter, the hole was formed by stones swirling in a whirlpool at the base of a prehistoric waterfalls. The women in the photograph are standing on a large circular stone whose rough edges were sanded off by this erosive action.Over centuries the creek carved black shale cliff into the distinct shapes of the Canajoharie Gorge at Wintergreen Park.The Canalway Trail: Unock the AdventureWelcome to the Canalway Trail System, offering hundreds of miles of scenic trails and numerous parks for walking, bicycling, crosscountry skiing, and other recreational activities. The Canalway Trail parallels the New York State Canal System, comprised of four historic waterways: the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego, and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. The Canal System spans 524 miles across New York State, linking the Hudson River with Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger lakes and Lake EriePathway Through MountainsThe Mohawk valley
is the only direct water-level route through the 1,300-mile Appalachian Mountain chain.Every type of transportation has passed through this geographic corridor: the first trails of the native peoples along the Mohawk River; the 1825 Erie Canal and its towpath, and the modern Barge Canal; railroad lines; highways and the NYS Thruway. Even airplane pilots follow the river on flights across New York State.Just east of Canajoharie, the mountains force the Mohawk River into a sweeping southern detour between the rock faces of Big Nose and Little Nose. Roads, railways, and canals squeeze together in the narrow passage.As you travel through this area, think of the generations of people who have passed before you: wandering hunters, soldiers and patriots, families in horse-drawn wagons heading to new homes in the west, canallers with loads of grain bound for New York City, freight trains and truckers with products of later years, people who live here and people on the way somewhere else. What did they see? What will our grandchildren see?This bicycle trail follows the path of the New York West Shore & Buffalo Railroad. The West Shore was built on the southern side of the of the Mohawk River to compete with the New York Central Railroad that ran on the north shore. The Mohawk Division of the 425-mile rail line opened in 1883 cutting through miles of rock
at staggering construction cost. Three years later, the New York Central took over the line. Today, the right-of-way is owned by New York State.The West Shore Railroad passed through the center of Canajoharie. The Chamber of Commerce Tourist Information booth reproduces the watchman's shelter house at the corner of Church and Mohawk Streets, visible to the right of the ladies in this c. 1900 postcard.The abutments of the Brooklyn Bridge used stone from Shaper's Cliff Street Quarry.The hills of Canajoharie are made of very high-quality limestone. In 1849, Charles Shaper opened the first limestone quarry in town. Local stone was used in the early Erie Canal locks and on the New York Central Railroad., as well as the many stone buildings that you see throughout the village.Large slabs of cut limestone were lifted out of quarry with tall wooden derricks and placed on horse-drawn wagons. Later, the stones were shipped to their destinations on canal barges and railroad cars.