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Erie Canalway IMPACT! Grants Support Education and Tourism along the Erie Canal

Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, in partnership with the NYS Canal Corporation, is pleased to announce that seven organizations have been selected to receive Erie Canalway IMPACT! Grants totaling $64,323. Funded projects include vital work to showcase canal heritage and welcome people to explore the canal in their local communities.

“We are thrilled to support these community-driven projects to strengthen the Canalway Corridor as a vibrant place to live, work, visit, and play,” said Bob Radliff, Executive Director of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. “These exciting projects will foster greater awareness and pride in New York’s canals that will have lasting benefits for residents and visitors.”

The grants range from $2,000 to $12,000 and will leverage an additional $161,107 in private and public project support. Over the past 13 years, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor has made 90 grants to communities and non-profit organizations that have spurred $2.4 million in additional investments in heritage preservation, recreation, and education.

New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton said, “It is an honor to join with the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor in supporting education, recreation, and tourism along New York’s canal system. The history of our canals provides the framework for our State’s great legacy, and we look forward to supporting and enhancing awareness of these storied waterways for years to come through these IMPACT! Grant projects.”

Corn Hill Navigation, Pittsford

Award: $8,954

Improve educational and program delivery with new technology at a new visitor center being developed at Corn Hill Landing in Rochester.


Erie Canal Museum, Syracuse 

Award: $9,015

Develop programming related to the Empire State Trail including a Syracuse-based Trail Ambassador Program and trail amenities that raise user awareness of the museum. Pilot both weekend and Corridor-wide trail rides.

Explore & More: The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum, Buffalo

Award: $11,454

Design and present an Erie Canal themed educational play experience every Wednesday throughout 2022 that will engage children and families.


Friends of Stewart Park, Ithaca 

Award: $5,900

Design and install five outdoor interpretive signs that showcase the history of the Erie Canal and Cayuga Lake as they relate to the City of Ithaca.


National Abolition Hall of Fame, Peterboro

Award: $12,000

Design and install two outdoor interpretive signs within the Village of Canastota to raise awareness of the National Abolition Hall. Funds will also support a reenactment of a dramatic event that shaped the abolition movement in the United States.


Schoharie River Center, Esperance

Award: $12,000

Implement a series of educational programs with at-risk urban and rural youth to investigate water quality on the Erie Canal/Mohawk River and adjacent tributaries.


Village of Brockport, Brockport
Award: $5,000
Design and install a pair of outdoor interpretive signs that celebrate the history, design, and operation of the Village’s iconic lift bridges.


Nearly 200 years after its construction, the Erie Canal remains an iconic symbol of American ingenuity and determination. The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor preserves our extraordinary canal heritage, promotes the Corridor as a world-class tourism destination, and fosters vibrant communities connected by more than 500 miles of waterway. It achieves its mission in partnership with the National Park Service, New York State agencies, non-profit organizations, local residents, and more than 200 communities across the full expanse of upstate New York.

Fall Foliage Report: October 16-22

I LOVE NY started the “New York Fall Foliage Report (opens in a new tab) ” on September 11 and will continue until the end of the foliage season, around the first or second week in November.  Montgomery County has started its own annual report this year as well.


Reporting station:  Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site (opens in a new tab) , Fort Hunter

Percent of trees predicted to have changed by the coming weekend:  75%

Brilliance: Average to bright

Predominating colors: Oranges and yellows are really showing off

Rating: Near peak to peak

As temperatures drop, more bright colors are emerging.  The upper edges of the Mohawk Valley are nearer peak so a drive along the Mohawk River provides an explosion of fine fall foliage.  Fingers crossed the rain doesn’t put a damper on the leaf peeping.  Leaves that changed earlier in the season have already fallen with the help of wind and rain.

The Noses as seen traveling east on Route 5

This weekend is full with a variety of events including the annual Halloween Parade (opens in a new tab) in Amsterdam, a Taste of Chocolate & Basket Fundraiser (opens in a new tab) for the Frothingham Free Library, an Evening at Nellis Tavern (opens in a new tab) , Old Fort Johnson’s Harvest Festival (opens in a new tab) , a concert from the Mohawk Valley Chamber Ensemble (opens in a new tab) , and an Open House (opens in a new tab) at an alpaca farm.

This Friday and Saturday the Historic League of Amsterdam presents Ghosts of the Past: A Haunted History Tour of Green Hill Cemetery (opens in a new tab) .  Meet past notable Amsterdam residents and learn their stories while experiencing beautiful and historic Green Hill Cemetery.  All tours begin and end at Amsterdam City Hall.  Free refreshments provided.  Tour times for both Friday and Saturday nights are 6:00, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00 and 8:30pm.  Tickets are available at the Book Hound and Damiano’s Flowers.

Saturday the VanAlstyne Homestead & Museum (opens in a new tab) is holding the 8th Annual Soup Tasting & Craft Fair (opens in a new tab) .  There will be delicious soups donated by local chefs, and eateries, fall seasoned crafts available by vendors from far and wide, and delicious harvest specialties grown by local producers.  There will also be local and international artists on hand with their beautiful works on display.  Live music will be performed in the century old ballroom, museum tours will be available, as well as a 50/50 raffle.

The Arkell Museum (opens in a new tab) presents Adirondack Lumber Camp Songs (opens in a new tab) on Sunday afternoon.  Join in for an afternoon of rousing lumberjack songs.  Enjoy the music and learn about this tough, rough, and crucial work. This program also includes informative narratives about Adirondack Mountain logging camps in the 1800s.  This program runs about an hour and is most enjoyable for older children and adults.  Admission is free.  Donations are always welcome and help support future programs.

Explore our countryside, enjoy our events (opens in a new tab) , and take in the autumn season!

Call for Travel Guides and Specialty Maps!


Fall Foliage Report: September 11-17

I LOVE NY starts the “New York Fall Foliage Report (opens in a new tab) ” on September 11 and will continue until the end of the foliage season, around the first or second week in November.  Montgomery County has started its own annual report this year as well.

Reporting station:  Schoharie Crossing State Historic Site (opens in a new tab) , Fort Hunter

Percent of trees predicted to have changed by the coming weekend:  5%

Brilliance: Dull

Predominating colors: Mostly green with small hints of yellow

Rating: Just beginning

Erie Canalway Trail

The leaves are just beginning to change in Montgomery County.  While green is still predominant, there are touches of yellow.

This weekend the Landis Arboretum (opens in a new tab) is hosting the Full Moon Music Series (opens in a new tab) with the Red Haired Strangers. “Find the magic of the moon” with live music at the Meeting House.  This is a rare full moon on Friday the thirteenth – enjoy the crisp air and spectacular views!

On Saturday, the first annual Canajoharie Street Fair (opens in a new tab) will take place in Downtown Canajoharie.  The event will feature live music, vendor booths, food trucks, a parade at 1:30pm, car show, and the King of the Wing chicken wing contest, ending with fireworks.

While in Canajoharie, visit the Arkell Museum’s (opens in a new tab) Regional Art Galleries art show featuring the work of Linda Armstrong (Juror’s Choice award), Jack Graber, and Bruce Muirhead (Best in Show) through October 16.  3 Solo Shows: Armstrong, Graber, and Muirhead (opens in a new tab) exhibit the work of three artists whose work was selected for The Art of New York: Annual Juried Art Show in 2018.

Explore our countryside, enjoy our events (opens in a new tab) , and take in the autumn season!

Call for Travel Guides and Specialty Maps!


Schooner Lois McClure Legacy Tour: The Canal Bicentennial Begins, in port at Amsterdam and Canajoharie

Replica 1862 Canal Schooner Lois McClure on the Champlain Canal – Stern. Courtesy Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Replica 1862 Canal Schooner Lois McClure on the Champlain Canal – Stern. Courtesy Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s (LCMM’s) replica 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure (opens in a new tab) will be in port at Riverlink Park in Amsterdam on Thursday, July 13 from 12-6pm and Riverfront Park in Canajoharie on Friday, July 14 from 4-7pm during her 2017 Legacy Tour commemorating the Erie Canal Bicentennial. The World Canals Conference, which celebrates canals as “agents of transformation,” inspired the 2017 “Legacy Tour” of Lois McClure.  The tour pays tribute to the legacy of the canals, which celebrate 200 years in 2017, and the legacy of the Northern Forest trees, which built the thousands of wooden boats that plied our waterways. Visitors can board the schooner free of charge to explore the 88-foot long boat and a special exhibit.” “The Lois McClure has a unique capability to bring 200 years of canal history to life, while engaging people to appreciate and protect our legacy waterways,” says New York State Canal Corporation Director Brian U. Stratton.  “It can also help inform how the canal system can best serve the evolving needs of present and future generations.”

During the Legacy Tour the schooner crew will share with community members and students a maritime perspective on the relationship between waterways and trees, canal boats and forests through an initiative called Stem to Stern. “The forests and the waterways are a key to understanding how America transformed into a powerful and prosperous nation,” says Erick Tichonuk, LCMM Co-Executive Director. “Using human and animal power, the canal builders cleared a pathway 60 feet wide and more than 400 miles long, much of it through forested lands, to create the water highway that brought an economic boom. Almost overnight, natural resources too bulky to ship overland became valuable commodities.” The canals opened a floodgate of trade between the Champlain Valley, ports along the Hudson River and the Atlantic Seaboard, and through western New York to the Great Lakes.

However, the transformation also brought some unintended consequences. Stem to Stern is designed to spark insight into the impact of deforestation: eroded soil, silted waterways, loss of habitat for fish and wildlife, and the arrival of invasive species. Marking the transition to an era of habitat for fish and wildlife, and the arrival of invasive species. Marking the transition to an era sustainable forestry and environmental stewardship, the schooner will transport a cargo of white oak and white pine seedlings provided by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Trees for Tributaries Program, to be planted in communities along the canal.

Further information and the full itinerary of the 2017 Legacy Tour can be found at (opens in a new tab) . Travel conditions for this traditional wooden vessel are weather dependent, so the schedule is subject to change.

Lois McClure was built by LCMM shipwrights and volunteers on the Burlington waterfront, based on two shipwrecks of 1862-class canal schooners discovered in Lake Champlain. Since 2004, Lois McClure has cruised Lake Champlain, the Hudson and St. Lawrence Rivers, and the Erie Canal System, and has visited over 200 communities and welcomed aboard more than 225,000 visitors. As an authentic replica, Lois McClure has no means of propulsion other than sail, so 1964 tugboat C. L. Churchill serves as power. As with all wooden vessels, constant care and maintenance is needed to ensure safe and effective operation.

Free admission is offered throughout the tour thanks to the generous support of sponsors including the New York State Canal Corporation and the State of Vermont. Additional support has been provided by Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership, Lake Champlain Basin Program, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the McClure family, the farm families of Cabot Creamery, Lake Champlain Transportation, Corning Museum of Glass, International Paper, and Vermont Family Forests. AmeriCorps Members have helped LCMM staff develop educational and interpretive materials for the project. Local hosts and supporters include the City of Amsterdam (opens in a new tab) , Village of Canajoharie (opens in a new tab) , the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie (opens in a new tab) , and the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce (opens in a new tab) .  For information about the event, visit (opens in a new tab) or (518)725-0641.


Schooner Lois McClure is an educational outreach program of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM), Vermont. A museum with a difference, LCMM brings underwater discoveries and lake adventures to the public in exciting and imaginative ways. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October 15, 2017. For more information visit (opens in a new tab) or call (802) 475-2022.

Underground Railroad Itinerary

Calvary Church in Hagaman – Historic Marker

15 Church Street, Hagaman

The Montgomery County Anti-Slavery Society was organized at the Presbyterian church (now the Calvary Reformed Church) in Hagaman in 1836.  This was the county’s first official stance against the institution of slavery.  Many local abolitionists were instrumental in organizing this society.  A marker is placed outside of the church signifying its importance in the anti-slavery movement.

Green Hill Cemetery in Amsterdam – Self-guided Walking Tour

23 Cornell Street, Amsterdam

Abolitionism and African American Life in Amsterdam (opens in a new tab) : Amsterdam, referred to by some as “the abolition hole,” was a hotbed of activity in the anti-slavery movement that swept the country in the years leading up to the Civil War.  Many of the local prominent residents participated in the cause to assist those seeking a life of freedom.  The area’s black residents also participated in the fight to end slavery with the Civil War.  A number of those participants, black and white, have their final resting place here at Green Hill Cemetery.

Canajoharie – Self-guided Walking Tour

Begin on Cliff Street, Canajoharie

The walking tour (opens in a new tab) focuses on the sites associated with the African American residents and the anti-slavery movement in the Village of Canajoharie.  The brochure identifies sites with the village, those still existing and those that are gone with the passage of time.

James Mereness  – Historic Marker at Ames Museum (opens in a new tab)

611 Latimer Hill Road, Ames

Dr. James Mereness participated and organized anti-slavery meetings for the western part of Montgomery County for many years prior to the Civil War.  Reports indicate that fugitive slaves seeking freedom from their lives in servitude sought shelter in Mereness’ home as part of the Underground Railroad network.  Dr. Mereness died in 1872, at which time, he continued his interests in improving the lives of African Americans through bequests to educate them.

The top floor of the 1835 Ames Museum, used as an academy from 1839 to 1959, houses many local artifacts featuring Ames’ hey-day as the hops-growing capital of 19th Century America. This building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

For copies of the Green Hill Cemetery (opens in a new tab) and Canajoharie (opens in a new tab) tour maps and more information on the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism and African American Life in Montgomery County project, please contact the Montgomery County Department of History & Archives (opens in a new tab) at (518) 853-8186.

Benefit Antique Show for Nellis Tavern

Nellis Tavern Antique Show 2015On Saturday, March 5, 2016, 10 AM until 4 PM the Arkell Museum (opens in a new tab) will once again be the site of an antique show organized for the benefit of the 1747 Nellis Tavern (opens in a new tab) historic site of St. Johnsville. Admission will be $5.00; a combo ticket for $10.00 will include entry into both the show and museum galleries. Etchings by Rembrandt (opens in a new tab) will be the special opening exhibit in the museum.

A wide variety of affordable antiques and collectibles will be offered for sale by knowledgeable and friendly dealers. The show is eclectic and will include paintings, glassware, postcards, jewelry, china, quilts, coverlets and furniture. Interesting items, spanning the 18th c. to the mid-20th c., can be found here.

In addition to the usual well-known local dealers, new to the show this year will be the following: Allen Boice from Madison, NY who specializes in refinished NYS cherry and tiger maple furniture; Charles and Shirley Schmitt from Ilion, NY who will be bringing prints and children’s books; Gene Abruzzi who recently moved to this area from Pennsylvania and specializes in toys and paintings; and Dr. Joseph Semowich from Rensselaer, NY with a variety of early historical items and prints. Dr. Semowich is also curator of the new (not yet opened) Museum of Prints and Printmaking in Schenectady, NY.

There will also be appraisal services on site so those who attend the show can find out the value of their own treasures; any two items for $5.00. This year the appraisers are George Heigel and Wallace Schmidt. Tasty homemade soups, sandwiches and desserts will be available for purchase.

For those wanting to spend the day in the area, there are several antique shops in Canajoharie. Brotherhood Antiques (opens in a new tab) , operated by Joe and Audrey Fowler, offers items from 10 different dealers in addition to consignment pieces. The Settlers Block (opens in a new tab) next door, operated by Jim Sancho, has a large inventory of furniture, art and a variety of small items. Chris Takacs, owner of Fort Plain Antiques (opens in a new tab) (2 miles west) offers large architectural and salvage items along with general line antiques. JR’s Auction and dealer center is now located on NYS Rt. 5 just east of St. Johnsville and west of the Nellis Tavern.

All proceeds from this show will be used for the continuing restoration and maintenance of the 1747 Nellis Tavern by the Palatine Settlement Society. Check out their website at: (opens in a new tab)

For additional information contact Donna Reston at 518.843.1601

African American Life & Abolitionist Movement in Canajoharie

A Walking Tour of Canajoharie

African American Life and the Abolitionist Movement in Canajoharie

Henry & Mary Miller (Cliff St.): Both born into slavery, Henry and Mary (Garlock) Miller were emancipated with the 1827 law.  They lived on this site where they raised a large family.

Peter & Eliza (Miller) Skinner (Cliff St.): Peter and Eliza Skinner represent the successful integration of many African Americans, born of enslaved parents, into the community life of these Mohawk Valley villages.  Both Peter and Eliza became property owners and successful business people in Canajoharie.

African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Zion Church (Cliff St.): Five African American men, representing African Americans who had been meeting for some time in a local church assembled to incorporate the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church at Canajoharie.  They purchased a plot of land on Cliff Street, just east of the home of Peter and Eliza Skinner.  Whether or not they actually built a church there is not known.  This church incorporated in 1857.  The denomination was synonymous with notable abolitionists such as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and Rev. Jermaine Loguen.  Rev. Richard Eastup, a freedom seeker himself, was appointed to oversee the Canajoharie mission church i 1862.

Charles Walter & Frances (Skinner) Denning (Cliff St.): Built sometime after 1868, this house was the home of Walter and Frances Denning, African Americans, by 1905.  Walter Denning was a Civil War veteran who became a prominent mason and brick worker in Canajoharie, who most likely used limestone quarried near this house.  Denning’s father actively shepherded freedom seekers from his home near Elmira.  Frances Skinner Denning grew up with her parents in a house just east on Cliff Street.

Philip Phillips (corner of Wheeler & Otsego Streets): As the generation of African Americans who were once enslaved, Philip and Eunice Phillips represent the modest success that steady work and home ownership provided to people who spanned the experience of both slavery and freedom in the Mohawk Valley in the mid-nineteenth century.

Canajoharie Academy (Otsego St.): As headmistress of the female department, Susan B. Anthony taught from 1846-1849 in the building that stood on this spot.  One cousin called her “the smartest woman in Canajoharie.”  Here she began her public career as a reformer, when she gave her first lecture for temperance on March 2, 1849.  She resigned in 1849 to move to Rochester, where she lived with her parents and began her career in abolitionism and women’s rights.  The current structure was designed by Archimedes Russell and built in 1892.

Ehle Block (Rock & Cliff Streets): erected 1876 by Eliza Ehle replacing an earlier home that had burned; housed various businesses including Peter Skinner’s barbershop and his wife Eliza Skinner’s ice cream parlor.

Reformed Church (Front St.): Like many churches in Montgomery County, European Americans dominated this congregation, but many African Americans  were also members.  Philip Phillips and his wife Eunice Van Horn Phillips were both members of this church; Philip Phillips was also sexton.

United Methodist Church: organized in 1828 in Palatine Bridge; built on this site in 1841; new structure erected after 1915 fire; had antislavery lectures including former slave Henry Walton Bibb. Many black families had their children baptized here.

John C. Smith: As a teacher and later President of the Canajoharie National Bank, Smith was one of those Canajoharie residents who, in 1850, signed and sent a petition to Congress denouncing slavery and forbade further admittance of any slave state to the Union.

Shaper Block (northwest corner of Church & Mohawk Streets): first building burned 1891; housed the barbershop of James Teboet.  The second building on this site, constructed of brick, burned and was razed in 1973.

George & Eleanor (Read) Caldwell (Mohawk St.): Susan B. Anthony first stayed at the home of her cousin Eleanor (Read) and George Caldwell during her tenure at the Canajoharie Academy.  As a conservative Democrat, George Caldwell introduced Anthony to local and state wide political debates, helping Anthony to define her own commitment to abolitionism.

James & Sarah Teboet/John & Mary Cromwell (Mohawk St.): James Teboet learned the skill to be a barber and practiced his trade in the Sharper building just down the street to the east of his home.  John Cromwell, residing in the same house, learned to play the violin while a slave in Schoharie County.  Hi s orchestra was well known throughout the Mohawk Valley playing at many halls and events.

Chester “Bromley” & Lizzie (Phillips) Hoke (Mohawk St.): Bromley Hoke and Elizabeth Phillips Hoke represent the integral part of that African Americans, descendants of grandparents who had been locally enslaved, played in the economic and social development of the Mohawk Valley, as well as the close ties of family and neighborhood that sustained African American families as they moved from slavery into freedom.

George Gilbert (Mohawk St.): Gilbert worked as a teamster and served as trustee for the A.M.E. Zion Church during its incorporation and its dissolution.  Also a member of the St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Gilbert was a prominent member of Canajoharie’s black residents.

For a copy of the Canajoharie tour map and more information on the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism and African American Life in Montgomery County project, please contact the Montgomery County Department of History & Archives (opens in a new tab) at (518) 853-8186.