Canajoharie Creek by Mill Road southwest of the hamlet of Sprout Brook
|Region||Central New York Region|
|Towns||Cherry Valley, Canajoharie|
|⁃ location||N of Cherry Valley, New York|
|Canajoharie, New York|
|285 ft (87 m)|
|Basin size||69.22 sq mi (179.3 km2)|
|⁃ left||Takaharawa Brook, Bowmans Creek|
|⁃ right||Van Deusen Brook, Tri County Creek, Brimstone Creek|
|Waterfalls||Judds Falls, Canajoharie Falls|
The Canajoharie Creek (//) is a river that flows into the Mohawk River in the Village of Canajoharie in the U.S. State of New York. The name "Canajoharie" is said to be a Mohawk language term meaning "the pot that washes itself," referring to the "Canajoharie Boiling Pot," a 20 feet (6.1 m) wide and 10 feet (3.0 m) deep pothole in the Canajoharie Creek, just south of the Village of Canajoharie. Bowmans Creek is one main tributary that enters the creek east of the Hamlet of Sprout Brook. The other main tributary is Brimstone Creek which enters the creek north-northwest of the Village of Ames.
Source to Brimstone Creek
Canajoharie Creek begins in a forested area north of the Village of Cherry Valley along St. Butler Road. It starts traveling northward for a short distance, crossing under U.S. Route 20, then reaching the first waterfall on the creek called Judds Falls, also known as Tekaharawa Falls. The creek continues northward after the falls for a short distance to just before Van Derwerker Road, where it turns to the east and begins to parallel the road and crosses under Mill Road. After crossing under mill Road the creek starts to parallel Mill Road. After a short distance it crosses under Cherry Valley Road, then Otsego Road, and then Vandeusenville Road. Shortly after crossing under Vandeusenville Road it meets the confluence of Bowmans Creek, just east of the Hamlet of Sprout Brook. After the confluence of Bowmans Creek, Canajoharie Creek begins to parallel State Route 163 (Sprout Brook Road) and crosses under Vandeusenville Road for the second time. It continues traveling eastward passing to the south of the Hamlet of Buel. After passing Buel it crosses under South Buel Road and then crosses under Macphall Road. After crossing under Mcphall Road it curves to the north for a short distance, crossing under West Ames Road, then curves back eastward. After the turn back to the east, the creek reaches the confluence of Brimstone Creek north-northwest of the Village of Ames.
Brimstone Creek to mouth
Shortly after the confluence the creek crosses under State Route 10, passing to the north of the Village of Ames. It then continues eastward and crosses under Shunk Road and Mapletown Road curving to the north briefly then back to the west by the hamlet of Waterville. After the brief foray to the west it turns northward crossing Old Tavern Road, then after a short distance, parallels Maple Hill Road for a few hundred feet. It then turns to the northwest and reaches State Route 10 once again and begins to parallel it, passing to the east of the hamlet of Marshville and under Mc Ewan Road. Shortly after crossing under Mc Ewan Road it curves to the east and begins to parallel Maple Hill.
Roughly halfway along Maple Hill the creek enters into the Canajoharie Gorge and then passes Wintergreen Flats. Then roughly 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the mouth, the creek flows over the 45-foot (14 m) Canajoharie Falls. The stream then continues to flow through a narrow deep canyon towards the Mohawk River. Along the way is a deep pothole called "the boiling pot". After this the creek passes through the Village of Canajoharie and under State Route 5S before converging with the Mohawk River.
The first Europeans to settle along the creek were Hendrick Schrembling, and Marte Janse Van Alstyne around 1730 in the present Village of Canajoharie. In 1750 Schrembling sold his property to his business partner, Marte Janse Van Alstyne. Schrembling remained in the area and ran a tavern, store and grist mill, but moved away by the end of the American Revolution. In 1772 Colonel Hendrick Frey built a mill and house along the creek.
Johannes Roof, who arrived in 1778, bought Schrembling's properties and continued to run the inn. Located on the east bank of the creek is the house built by Gose Van Alstyne, son of Marte Janse Van Alstyne. It was built around 1775 and fortified around 1780. It was first called Fort Van Rensselaer and then changed to Fort Washington.
There were early roads that followed the creek that led to the villages of Sharon Springs and Cherry Valley. One of the roads led to Otsego Lake and branched off at the Village of Ames. The road to Otsego Lake was used by General Clinton's American army in 1779. The army had camps along the creek in the hamlets of Buel and Sprout Brook. The troops reached Otsego Lake between July 2 and 4th of 1779. Parts of this road are now known as Clinton's Road or Continental Road.
At times people have had to be rescued from the creek near Wintergreen Park due to flash flooding. In July 2017, 13 people were rescued from the creek near the pools located in the creek off Mill Street by the village of Canajoharie. The 13 people were trapped due to a flash flood. In April 2019 high water from storms caused a retaining wall to collapse in the Village of Canajoharie.
Like other gorges and ravines, Canajoharie Gorge was formed by erosion. The giant pothole located in the gorge, known as "the boiling pot", was formed by rocks eroding the surface of the limestone bed.
Limestone and shale of the Trenton Group disconformably overlie dolostone of the upper part of the Beekmantown Group in the river bed of the creek. Rocks in the Canajoharie Creek river bed include the Chuctanunda Creek Dolostone, which is pan of the Beekmantown Group, and the disconformably overlying limestone and shale of the Trenton Group. Interbedded limestone and shale of the lower Trenton Group is conformably overlain by the Utica Shale, which is roughly 305 metres (1,001 ft) thick at this locality. All rocks of the Trenton Group were deposited during the Trentonian stage of the middle to late Ordovician (circa 448-458 Ma) and the rocks of the Chuctanunda Creek member of the Tribes Hill Formation were deposited during the Gascondian stage of the early Ordovician (circa 505-488 Ma).
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) maintains two stream gauges along the Canajoharie Creek. The upper one, in operation since 1993 is located 10 feet (3.0 m) upstream from the bridge on McEwan Road, and 2.3 miles (3.7 km) southwest of the Village of Canajoharie. The lower one is located at the creek's mouth.
The upper station had a maximum discharge of 5,850 cubic feet (166 m3) per second and a gauge height of 10.76 feet (3.28 m) on August 28, 2011, as Hurricane Irene passed through the area. It had minimum discharge of .23 cubic feet (0.0065 m3) per second and a gauge height of 1.26 feet (0.38 m) on September 10, 2015. The upper station had a maximum water temperature of 99 °F (37 °C) on July 15, 1995.
There was formerly a stream gauge just east of Sprout Brook located where Vandeusenville Road crosses the creek. It was in service from June 14, 1994 to December 19, 1995. This station had a maximum discharge of 154 cubic feet (4.4 m3) per second on June 3, 1995, and a minimum discharge of .49 cubic feet (0.014 m3) per second on September 6, 1994. Another former stream gauge was located southwest of the hamlet of Sprout Brook where Mill Road crosses the creek. It was in service from September 7, 1994 to August 22, 1995. This station had a maximum recorded discharge of 3.53 cubic feet (0.100 m3) per second on September 7, 1994, and a minimum recorded discharge of .70 cubic feet (0.020 m3) per second on August 22, 1995.
In spring 2019 and years in the past, the DEC stocked 1330 8 to 9 inches (20 to 23 cm) and 100 12 to 15 inches (30 to 38 cm) long Brown Trout into the creek. Other species of fish in the creek are Carp.
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