A view of the great Cohoes Falls

view of cohoes falls pownall sandby

For no other reason than we saw this today and liked it...

Check out this 18th century illustration of the Cohoes Falls. The scene look so wild and alive in the image.

From the description at the Library of Congress:

A view of the great Cohoes Falls, on the Mohawk River, the fall about seventy feet, the river near a quarter mile ... // sketch'd on the spot by his excellency Governor Pownal ; painted by Paul Sandby ; engraved by Wm. Elliot.

"His excellency Governor Pownal" was Thomas Pownall, a British colonial official who served as governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay from 1757-1760. Pownall first arrived in North America in 1753 as the private secretary to Sir Danvers Osborne, who who had just been appointed governor -- and then committed suicide. Pownall stuck around and decided to travel around studying the colonies. He ended up becoming friends with Benjamin Franklin and attended the Albany Congress of 1754, an event that helped plant some of the seeds that later grew into the revolution.

Another random bit: Pownall in Vermont's Bennington County is named after him.

Paul Sandby was a British military mapmaker and landscape artist. He was also one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Arts.

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It's a rare sight, seeing water flowing over the west side of the Cohoes Falls, with the hydro power plant diverting the flow. Here's an unusual moment 6 years ago after the intense Hurricane Irene rainfall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dGP1tJmJGQ

A version of this is also on display on a panel in the State Museum's exhibit on the Erie Canal.

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