Re-Discovering Kane's Store
Of the three sites encountered in the documents for Canajohary - Spraker's
Tavern, Keator's Rift and Kane's Store - only the last presented any mystery.
Spraker's Tavern had stood into the 1960s, was identified by both a State
Historic Marker and visible ruins, and was well known to people in the area.
Keator's Rift was easily located in the river in spite of impacts imposed
upon it by the creation of the Barge Canal and subsequent dredging in the area.
The island that defined the rift on early maps still survived, and can be seen
today along the north side of the Thruway.
But Kane's Store had never been documented, and few even were aware of
it's existence, even though amply recorded in Rufus Grider's watercolors and
mentioned in 19th century histories.
It was rediscovered by using Grider's paintings as evidence. These views placed the 1790s
building in an 1890s landscape (see below). From this 100 year old view,
it was merely a matter of duplicating the perspective of Grider's images,
factoring in changes such as the construction of Route 5S along the tow path of
the old Erie Canal.
First the general location along the south side of the Mohawk Valley was
confirmed by matching Grider's view from the west along the old canal (below).
One can match the towpath of the old
canal with the highway, the old canal itself with the water-filled remains to the right,
the elevated railbed to its right, and the escarpment.
Click images to enlarge
The 1890s river road shown in Grider's paintings is now a lane along the base of
the escarpment parallel to Route 5S. Following this to a point east of the close-up
view of the building (below), and noting that the store was built on a low
rise of land along this road (see view above), it was simply a matter of placing onesself in the
same location, looking ahead westward to the same low rise of land.
From this perspective, looking
west along the old roadway, one can match the rise of land along the base
of the escarpment. The railbed shown in Grider's view runs along this road at the right.
Click images to enlarge
The discovery was confirmed by walking to the spot that best matched that shown
in Grider's painting, a very small patch of flat ground inside a notch in
the wall of rock that defines this edge of the valley,
stepping up onto the ground adjacent to the old road, and
finding among the brambles the foundation hole and collapsed stone
walls of Old Roundtop - Kane's store from the 1790s.