Early settlers from the Palatinate area of Germany began settling on the north side of the Mohawk River in 1723. The original population of Mohawk Indians was mostly driven out of the area during the American Revolution. At the construction of the bridge in 1798 spanning the Mohawk River the community received its combined name of Palatine Bridge. Incorporation as a village occurred in 1867.
The small settlement on the south side of the river was known as “Roof’s Village”. After the Revolution, this settlement was renamed Canajoharie (its original Iroquois name) which referred to a geological feature in the Canajoharie Creek. The meaning of the name is “the pot that washes itself.” By 1829 the village was incorporated and thrived as a market town on the Erie Canal.
In 1882 with the extension of the railroad through the Village, manufacturing and limestone quarrying was stimulated; there is still manufacturing here today although on a greatly reduced scale.
In recent years, these communities have welcomed many Amish families and a return of traditional Mohawk people to their ancestral lands. Beech-Nut, the baby food producer, was founded in Canajoharie in 1891 and served as the largest employer in the town for over a century.
With a combined 2000 census of fewer than 4000 people, there is a small town quality of life that results in participation in local activities and a working together to make our villages a better place to raise and educate children. We invite you to visit at any season. Take time to listen to the sounds, study the local history, view our world class collection of American art at the Arkell Museum, enjoy a picnic by the river or take a walk in Wintergreen Park.
For more information on the history of the area go here: http://www.newyorkheritage.org/index.php for hundreds of digital collections from libraries, museums, and archives all over New York State; and here: http://montgomery.nygenweb.net/canajoharie.html, a volunteer run website giving historical information about communities throughout NY State.