entire area was once an ancient ocean as seen by the many
fossils found in the sedimentary rock. It was then covered
by a glacier
which left all the large rocks we see in the soil and shoreline
when it receded. As a matter of fact the Great Sacandaga
Lake existed once in the ancient glacial times as Glacial
the spot where the dam is now and the glacial ice melted
filling the valley inn, but the river washed all the till
we were left with the fertile Sacandaga Valley. Sacandaga
old Mohawk word meaning "the land of waving grass".
900 years ago, The valley was then inhabited by the
indigenous people of the area who, after fifty years
of war, formed
a great peace known as the Iroquois Alliance and included The Mohawk, Oneida,
Cayuga, and Seneca nations. The Sacandaga Valley was inhabited mainly by
the Bear Clan of the Mohawk and the Turtle and Wolf Clans lived near by. These
natives did not live in tepees, but in villages of longhouses which were
located on hills
and well guarded. These families grew corn, beans, and squash. They supplemented
their diet with hunting and wild fruits.
by Darren Bonaparte
Sir William Johnson left
Ireland at the age of 23 and came to settle in the Mohawk river valley he brought
12 families with him in 1738 and had increased the number to 26 by 1742.As a
result of Sir William's real estate transactions, he acquired more than 200,000
acres, which led him to encourage Irish and Scottish Highlanders to migrate to
Johnstown, a community consisting of mills, shops, smiths and other structures
including Johnson Hall, his residence.
William Johnson receives visitors and delegates,
as plans are laid for a campaign on the shores of Lake St. Sacrement, 1755.
became an Indian merchant and through trust and good will
developed a close relationship with the Iroquois Alliance.
He was named Warraghiyagey ('doer of great things or 'chief big business')
the Mohawk followed Johnson into the French and Indian war in 1754 and
despite politics was successful at the war's end in 1760.
Keeping the Mohawk on the
British side throughout the American Revolution.
The Sacandaga River was used for logging and attracted many spectators.
In 1867 F.J. and G railroad acquired the 16 miles of railroad and built
which was the beginning of the " Coney Island of the North. In 1888
The Adirondack Inn was built with room for 250 guests and an elevator!
Cottages sprung up, a theater and Golf course were built, followed by
a huge midway
Midway , Sacandaga Park courtesy of Lorraine and Randy
Sport Island Complex was built and was home to the New
York State Baseball League. There were boxing matches,
and $5,000.00 of fireworks every
Independence Day! Unfortunately most of these buildings burnt in various
fires and the Sacandaga Park was condemned in preparation
for the reservoir in 1926.
photo Courtesy of the Hudson
River Black River Regulating District The
Building of the Dam
This was no easy task. This was the biggest reservoir
in the area ever to be built. Farms, wood lots and entire communities would
be replaced by 283 billion gallons of water! Fifty miles of new roads needed
be constructed, and 10 new bridges needed to be built, 12,000 homes had to
be moved or destroyed; 3,872 people from 22 different cemeteries had to be trans-buried.