Waterford Women Tired Of Hearing About Cohoes Mastodon

By Dodie Fingerton

Published November 17th, 2014

Cohoes Mastodon

Make no bones about it; Denise Placcard of Waterford is sick and tired of hearing about the Cohoes Mastodon.

"The people of Cohoes are always yammering on about their stupid mastodon and I can't take it anymore," The single mother of three said while folding clothes inside a Laundromat on the east side of town. "It's always mastodon-this and mastodon-that. They even have a stupid foot race named The Mastodon. Real original."

The source of Placcard's ire dates back to 1866, when excavation work for construction of Mill #3 of the Harmony Mills unearthed the bones of a large, prehistoric mastodon. The discovery of the creature — which paleontologists say became extinct approximately 10,000 years ago — put Cohoes on the map.

At the time, The Cohoes Cataract newspaper wrote: "Those who during the present generation, have trod the earth of Cohoes have never taken onto their wildest imaginings the strange things that were concealed beneath the surface. But the late excavations made by the Harmony Company have brought to light the fact that a huge mastodon once dwelt where our village now stands. Fifty feet below the surface the jaw of this monster has been found, and has created in our village such sensations, few events ever excited...Yet excavation has revealed other wonders, little less remarkable."

"Remarkable my ass," said Placcard. "The whole thing's a crock. The year before them bones were discovered, The Saturday Evening Post compared Cohoes to a ‘hobo's infected toe.’ So the whole mastodon thing was nothing but a way to offset bad press. I heard it was a dead circus elephant."

Life-long Cohoes resident and two time felon, Timothy Fracas, was quick to disagree. "I don't know nothing about no mastodon but I do know them Waterford bitches are crazy."

Dead circus elephant, or prehistoric mastodon? Ravings of a crazy, single mother of three or ingenious political spin? It’s a debate that will continue to rage.

Meanwhile, for those interested, the Cohoes mastodon skeleton is currently on display in the New York State Museum in Albany, while a furry replica can be seen at the Cohoes Public Library.


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