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Posts Tagged ‘Schaghticoke NY’

Schaghticoke, New York

Posted by graywacke on November 19, 2017

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2377; A Landing A Day blog post number 811.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (42o 54.471’N, 73o 37.135’W) puts me in East Central New York:

My local landing map doubles as my watershed map:

I landed in the watershed of the Hoosic River (2nd hit); on to the Hudson (16th hit).  So.  A drop of water that falls on my landing eventually ends up in New York Harbor.  And if that drop is very lucky (it’s daytime and the drop is at the surface), and if it has eyes and a brain, it will get to see this (GE Panoramio shot by Thomas Splietker):

The Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage of my landing is excellent:

And here’s the view:

The Hoosic River runs close to my landing, and a Street View look-see is just upstream in Schaghticoke:

Looking upstream:

The dam you see was built in 1907, forming “Electric Lake” behind it.  The water was diverted to a channel that goes under the far end of the bridge and on to a hydro-electric plant – yes, way back in 1907. 

So it’s time to take a look at Schaghticoke.  From Wiki:

The Town of Schaghticoke (named after the Indian tribe of the same name) is in an area that was historically occupied by the Mohican tribe, and later by a mixed group of Mohicans and remnants of numerous New England tribes who had migrated north and west seeking to escape European encroachment.  Their societies had been disrupted due to a high rate of fatalities from new infectious diseases, to which they had no immunity.

[Note:  the State of New York has “towns” are similar to “townships” in other states.  What I would normally call the town of Schaghticoke (and is shown on my landing map) is actually a “village.”]

The Schaghticoke Indians (SKAT-i-kohk) are a Native American tribe of the Eastern Woodlands who historically consisted of Mohican, Potatuck, Weantinock, Tunxis and Podunk, peoples indigenous to what is now New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The remnant tribes amalgamated in the area near the Connecticut-New York border after many losses.

[More about Podunk in a bit.]

In 1675, Governor Andros, governor of the colony of New York, planted a tree of Welfare near the junction of the Hoosic River and Tomhannock Creek, an area already known as Schaghticoke, “the place where the waters mingle.” This tree symbolized the friendship between the English, the Dutch, and the Schaghticoke Indians.

The junction of the Tomhannock and the Hoosic is very close to my landing:

Here’s a Street View look down the Tomhannock, right at the literal Schaghticoke – the place where waters mingle:

Here’s what Wiki has to say about the etymology of Schaghticoke:

Schaghticoke has various spellings: Pachgatgoch, Patchgatgoch, Pisgachtigok, Pishgachtigok, Scachtacook, Scaghkooke, Scanticook, Scatacook, Scaticook, Schaacticook, Scotticook, Seachcook, derived from an Algonquian word meaning “the confluence of two waterways or “gathered waters.”

I can understand that when the various decimated Indian tribes came together to form a single tribe, they needed a name.  And I think “gathered waters” is an apt choice, with both local geographic significance as well as symbolic meaning.

And it just so happens that the name they selected is complex for us English speakers, and was predictably butchered as the word was Anglicized.  But please.  Schaghticoke? 

As promised, I’ll get back to Podunk.  Obviously, it caught my eye, and I assumed that was a connection between the name of the Indian tribe and the popular use of the word “Podunk.”  And there is.

From Wiki:

The word podunk is of Algonquian origin. It denoted both the Podunk people and marshy locations, particularly the people’s winter village site in what is today central Connecticut.

The earliest known written use is from Samuel Griswold Goodrich’s 1840 book, The Politician of Podunk:

“Solomon Waxtend was a shoemaker of Podunk, a small village of New York some forty years ago.”

So there is a teeny Finger Lakes hamlet known as Podunk.  But Wiki continues:

In American discourse, the term podunk came into general colloquial use through the wide national readership of the “Letters from Podunk” of 1846, in the Daily National Pilot of Buffalo, New York. These represented “Podunk” as a real place but one insignificant and out of the way.

The term gained currency as standing for a fictional out of the way and backwards place. For examle, in 1869, Mark Twain wrote an article, “Mr. Beecher and the Clergy,” defending his friend, Thomas K. Beecher, whose preaching had come under criticism. In it he said:

“They even know it in Podunk, wherever that may be.”

JFTHOI*, I typed “podunk” into the A Landing A Day search box.  I found a couple of references to ePodunk.com, which is a community database from which I garnered some info.  But I actually used the word “podunk” twice.

                 *Just for the heck of it.

In my Camp Wood TX post (February 2016), I said this just after my Google Earth spaceflight:

Did you see what looks like a runway?  Here’s a static look:

I’ll say!  And this is no podunk grass airstrip!  It’s paved, and over a mile long.  I’m out in the middle of no where, so a paved runway makes no sense.  But as you’ll learn soon enough, I figured out the story.

And then, in my April 2015 Everglades Florida post (right after my Google Earth spaceflight in):

Zooming back a little, here’s the lay of the land nearby:

I was shocked to see an airport!  And not some podunk little thing, but a two-mile runway!  More about that later . . .

Oh my!  It’s remarkable (almost scary) how similar those two passages are.  Obviously, my brain works in predictable ways . . .

For the record, the Texas airstrip is for one of those Texas mega-ranches. 

About the Everglades airport (from my post):

This isolated airport was originally planned to be the largest airport in the world. Begun in 1968, the Everglades Jetport was to be an eight-runway airport for supersonic aircraft.  Because of environmental concerns, construction was halted after the completion of just one runway. The facility remains in use today as an aviation training facility.

Note that I fairly recently wrote about an isolated-yet-substantial airstrip in my October 2017 Trementina NM post – where the mysterious airstrip is operated by the Church of Scientology.  Somehow I wrote about it without the use of the word podunk. 

But I can’t help myself.  Here’s my just-revised piece from that post (with my revision highlighted):

So I cruised on over to GE, figuring I could find the airstrip near Trementina, and indeed I could:

Here’s a closer look at the base:

This isn’t some podunk little airport!  And looky there!  A giant symbol carved in the ground that would make Dan Brown proud (or at least curious).  We must take a closer look. . .

Enough already. It’s time to close things down with two GE Panoramio shots by Dan Campbell, taken near Schaghticoke:

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

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