Erie Canal (Original), Locks 37 & 38, 84 North Mohawk Street, Cohoes, Albany County, NY
See also HAER NY-5, Harmony Manufacturing Company, Mill No. 3, and HAER NY-9, Cohoes Company Power Canal System, for related documentation.
Significance: The state of New York built the Erie Canal between 1817 and 1825 to open the western part of the state and the Great Lakes to settlement and commercial development. Locks 37 and 38 formed part of a series of nineteen locks needed to carry the canal around the Cohoes Falls, a cataract on the Mohawk River some 3 miles above its junction with the Hudson River. After completion of an enlarged Erie Canal along a new line through Cohoes in 1842, the original right of way was conveyed to the Cohoes Company and incorporated into the expanding system that supplied water power to manufacturers throughout the growing community.
The Erie Canal catalyzed commerce, industry, and population growth in Cohoes, as it did in places all along its path. Although little survives of Locks 37 and 38, portions now serve as foundations for a row of industrial buildings that demonstrate Cohoes' expansion as a mill town through the middle decades of the nineteenth century. Largely functional and quotidian, these buildings and the canal beneath them were modified as needed over time to maintain their usefulness, and the resulting site is an accretion at the center of a larger manufacturing complex where the paths of a few leading nineteenth-century engineers and capitalists crossed those of thousands of predominately young immigrant mill workers.
The power-canal system was abandoned after 1915 and the adjacent mills closed in the 1930s. Today, the remains of Locks 37 and 38 and the building above them lie within the Harmony Mill Historic District, created in 1987, and the Harmony Mills National Historic Landmark District, designated in 1999.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N1255
Survey number: HAER NY-337
Building/structure dates: 1821-1823 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1853 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1858 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1864 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: after. 1970- before. 1979 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 78003151