Cohoes, a city of Albany co., New York, on the right bank of the Mohawk river, at its confluence with the Hudson, and on the Erie canal near its junction with the Champlain canal, 8 m. N. of Albany; pop. in 1850, 4,229; in 1860, 8,800; and in 1870, 15,357, of whom 7,947 were natives and 7,410 foreigners. Cohoes falls, 70 ft. in perpendicular height, and remarkable for their picturesque beauty, are just above the city. The Albany division of the Rensselaer and Saratoga railroad and the Troy and Schenectady (New York Central) railroad pass through Cohoes, and horse cars run to Troy. Among the public buildings, the Roman Catholic church of St. Bernard, built of brick, with high towers, is particularly worthy of mention. It cost $100,000, is finely decorated within, and is furnished with a chime of bells. The Episcopal church of St. John, with the parsonage connected, is of Schenectady blue stone, and cost $75,000. Each of the stained windows illustrates one of the figures in Revelations; and being formed of hammered or rolled glass, by which the light is reflected rather than transmitted, they possess great brilliancy and depth of color. - Cohoes derives its importance from the extent of its manufactures, ample water power being supplied by the falls.
The Cohoes company, organized in 1826, and having a capital of $500,000, owns the entire water power of the river from half a mile above the falls to a mile below, the total fall in this distance being 120 ft. A stone dam, 1,443 ft. long, was built in 1865 above the falls, at a cost of $180,000. This structure was preceded by a series of wooden dams, the first of which was erected in 1831. The water is used in five successive canals, having falls of 18 to 25 ft.; and again from the level of the state dam below the falls, which was built to supply the canal at this point. The water power is leased by the company at the rate of $20 a year for each horse power, including the necessary land. The Harmony company, having a capital of $2,000,000, owns all the cotton factories in Cohoes, and its mills, comprising six distinct factories, are the largest in the city the most recent containing 2,700 looms and 130,000 spindles. One of these mills (the first in the United States) has lately been supplied with machinery for making cotton printing cloths of a yard in width, having the same texture as those of the English mills.
In 1871, 4,400 looms and 230,000 spindles were in operation in all the mills; the number of hands was 3,100, of whom two thirds were women and girls; number of water wheels, 15, of 3,000 horse power. To July 1 of that year $1,750,000 had been expended for machinery and $2,275,000 for real estate. The average monthly product is 5,500,000 yards of cloth. In 1870, 52,342,000 yards were manufactured, worth $4,053,254; amount of cotton consumed, 9,012,000 lbs., worth $2,545,887; wages paid, $855,350. The company have recently erected a large brick depot on the New York Central railroad, capable* of containing 15,000 bales of cotton. They own large storehouses, and 700 or 800 dwellings occupied by their employees, which are situated on wide streets, regularly laid out, well paved, lighted with gas, and bordered with trees. Knit goods, including undershirts, drawers, and stockings, are a prominent feature of the industry of Cohoes, which produces a third of all the hosiery manufactured in the country. In 1870 there were 18 knitting mills, with an aggregate capital of $1,157,000, requiring 1,066 horse power; amount of wages paid, $535,362; value of materials used, 1,394,-948; value of products, $2,345,226. The first knitting mill in the United States was established here in 1832, but it is only within a few years that the business has assumed its present proportions.
The Cohoes rolling mill occupies an area of 500 by 160 ft., and produces shafting, bar and band* iron, and a superior quality of axe, pick, and mattock poles, as well as an excellent iron for tool makers, which is said to have superseded to some extent the Norway iron formerly used. In 1870 this establishment produced 2,500 tons of band iron and 8,000 axe poles, of the aggregate value of $299,000. There are two axe factories, producing articles to the value of $380,000. The Empire pin company has a capital of $25,000, and in 1870 manufactured 175,000 packages of pins, worth $38,359. A new factory 40 by 100 ft., and six stories high, has recently been erected by the company. The Cohoes knitting-needle factory in 1870 produced 2,804,000 dozen needles, worth $14,450. Besides the establishments mentioned, there are two foun-deries, three machine shops, a planing mill, a sawing and bevelling establishment, a paper mill, and manufactories of straw board, bedsteads, and tape. The city contains two banks, with an aggregate capital of $350,000. It is divided into four wards, and is governed by a mayor, who, together with the board of aldermen, consisting of two members from each ward, constitute the common council.
The public schools, under the control of two commissioners in each ward, are 22 in number, including a high school, and have 28 teachers and 1,430 pupils. . There are night schools for the operatives. The Harmony company supports a Sunday school, which has an average attendance of 420 pupils, and is furnished with an elegant school room, a library of 1,800 volumes, and a well appointed reading room. There are also several parish schools, and two weekly newspapers. There are 7 churches, of which 2 are Roman Catholic. One of the Catholic churches is supported by French Canadians, who are largely represented among the mill hands. - Previous to 1811 the site of Cohoes was a barren waste. In that year the Cohoes manufacturing company was incorporated, "for the purpose of manufacturing cotton, woollen, and linen goods, bar iron, nail rods, hoop iron, and ironmongery;" but it failed about 15 years later. In 1831 the population of the neighborhood did not exceed 150. It was incorporated as a village in 1848, and as a city in 1869.