Naming the city of Cohoes

Did you know that there are several meanings for Cohoes?

One definition is that it means “place of the falling canoe” referring to the Cohoes Falls. There, as a story goes, a young and beautiful daughter of the chief fell asleep in a birchbark canoe, anchored on the Mohawk River, Macques Kill, and unaware of imminent danger, floated toward the falls.  Unable to escape the canoe, the young woman fell to her death.  The site became known as “Cahoos” The Place of the Falling Canoe.

Another meaning is given by the Dutch explorer, Adriane Vander Donk, who in 1665 wrote of the Peacemaker, Hiawatha, who with his wife and child and canoe full of furs, found themselves too close to the falls on the Mohawk River.  They fell to the destruction of his family, but he was miraculously saved, and the site became a sacred site to the Mohawks.

Yet a third meaning emerges from an article written by E. M. Ruttenberger in 1906, attesting to the fact that the Iroquois/Mohawks were not the tribes prevalent around the current city of Cohoes at that time, but the Mahican/Algonquian Indians were inhabitants…and the name is probably of Dutch origin. “Koowa” is Algonquian for “Pine”  “Koaaes” means “Small pine trees”…The Dutch ending, “hoos” means “Waterspout”…and this may be the interpretation of “The Great Falls”

So, as with all stories, you may pick the one that resonates most with you, and you are welcome to research and find your own meaning for “Cohoes”