Water is the lifeblood of cities. Look even to the three counties in the Greater Capital Region without cities in them: Greene, Schoharie, and Washington. Yet, Catskill could easily be a city, but for its being a village, situated as it is on a prominent piece of ground between the Hudson River and the mouth of the Catskill Creek. And the villages of Hudson Falls and Fort Edward, situated as they are on prominent bends in the Hudson River, could also just as easily be cities.
And while Schoharie County is landlocked, its three large villages of Cobleskill, Middleburgh, and Schoharie all sit in the largest floodplains of the county, along the Cobleskill and Schoharie Creeks. Cobleskill sits in the western gateway, as the major arteries of N.Y. Route 7, Interstate 88, and the CSX rail line can attest, moving out of the Mohawk-Hudson watershed and into the abutting Susquehanna watershed. Middleburgh sits in the southern gateway, as the artery of N.Y. Route 30 can attest, moving into the abutting Delaware watershed to the southwest.
These cities and villages exist where they are for very good reasons, all of them strategically placed, firstly for defense of an old frontier and secondly for the riches that come from key trans-shipment points.
4. The City of Glens Falls:
County: Warren Incorporated: 1908 Population: 14,700 Area: 3.93
The settlement that became the City of Glens Falls has been around for a very long time, having been settled by Quakers in the early to mid-1700s. In fact, Glens Falls and its surrounding areas figured prominently in both the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution. And if you’re a fan of James Fenimore Cooper, then you know that the area was important to his “Leatherstocking Tales”, specifically “The Last of the Mohicans”. Glens Falls has had several names since its creation. The Iroquois called it Chepontuc (“difficult place to get around”). The first settlers called it the Great Carrying Place since one had to portage around the immense falls in the Hudson River at this spot. It was later called The Corners, Wing’s Falls (for the leader of its Quaker settlers), and Glen’s Fall. Over time, the apostrophe was dropped.
Glens Falls was also the halfway point between Fort Edward and Fort William Henry, on the frontier during the aforementioned wars, thereby making the settlement a perfect place for a city to grow. Glens Falls is the gateway into the Adirondacks as one heads north along the Hudson Valley.
Because of its geographic location, Glens Falls has had many industries over the years, especially regarding lumber, paper products, farm goods, and minerals mined in the Adirondacks.
5. The City of Gloversville:
County: Fulton Incorporated: 1853 Population: 15,665 Area: 5.10
Gloversville came into existence almost solely out of the tanning and glove-making trade found there since the late 1700s. It may be hard to believe but between the years of 1890 and 1950, approximately 90 percent of all gloves sold in the United States were actually made in or around Gloversville.
However, with the Great Depression came the gradual decline of the glove industry, which gutted the city’s infrastructure. The city has made several attempts to reinvent itself, though its glory days are long gone.
To get a feel for the grittiness of modern-day Gloversville and its surrounding area, all one need do is pick up a novel by hometown Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo. Check out especially “Empire Falls”.