The Mohawk River follows an ancient pathway connecting two prehistoric lakes. Created by glaciers carved out by melting ice water, this valley once drained the entire Great Lakes Region. The western counties, Oneida and Herkimer, from the edge of the glacial lake Iroquois that then covered all of Western New York. In Fulton and Montgomery counties, the river valley runs between two parallel ridges of rock rising to the Adirondacks in the north and through Schoharie County into the Catskills to the south. Further east the river flows through the broad valley created by glacial Lake Albany –todaySchenectady , Saratoga and Albany counties- and into the Hudson River.


The eight countries of the Mohawk River Region: Albany, Schenectady, Schoharie, Fulton, Montgomery, Herkimer and Oneida share a cohesive, distinctive landscape shaped by the regions ancient geography. What was created in the crucible of the Valley was the heart of the Empire State and foundation of theUnite States: political and military triumphs, an economic infrastructure fueling national growth and a cultural mosaic that exemplifies the American identity.

The story is one both of achievement and hardship, of nations waxing and waning. It is a rich of progress among chapters of conflict and strife. Today these historic, cultural and scenic resources play a new role in regional economy.


The history of the Mohawk Valley captures the essence of the American experience. Nowhere else exists a mosaic of cultures that speak more eloquently to the struggles and triumphs of building an American Nation. For thousands of years, the Valley has been a passage for people, ideas and goods and it has shaped and solidified an American Nation. The history is marked by cultural conflict and community building, by innovation and invention, and struggles for freedom along a moving frontier. The result today is a heritage of diverse cultures, a broad commercial and industrial base and a deep unique attachment to land.

The peculiar geography of America made Mohawk River Valley a place of enormous strategic importance. Native Americans were the first to live in the river corridor. European and Yankee settlers travelled here to make new homes with devastating consequences for the Oneida, the Mohawk and the other Iroquois nations.

The struggles of the American Revolution were played out in this Valley, pitting neighbor against neighbor and fracturing the Iroquois Confederacy. The Erie Canal began here, opening the Midwest to settlement. The waves of commerce and industry that followed its route made New York truly the “Empire Estate” and enabled the US to become a continental nation.


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