Thursday, March 15, 2012

Moordanaers Kill

View of Moordanaers Kill looking east from Section 19 near the Appeleton lot and Stanford vault.

Moordanaers Kill is one of two large streams which cut through the Rural Cemetery in a roughly west-to-east direction. These streams help divide the Cemetery into its three sections - the North, Middle, and South Ridges. Moordaners Kill runs through the ravine between the Middle and South Ridges.

Moordanaers Kill is Dutch for "Murderer's Creek," but the exact origin of the name is vague. A 1903 bulletin from the New York State Museum says refers to "an early battle on its banks between settlers and robbers." In his history of the Cemetery, Henry P. Phelps writes that the name comes from "a tradition of a murder committed near the bridge that crossed its mouth at the time the road between Albany and Troy ran along the river bank."

Further east from this vantage point, the stream once provided water power to a mill which processed "oil cakes" for animal feed. When the Cemetery was founded, the mill and a tiny schoolhouse which overlooked the stream were torn down. The stream was damned to create the ornamental Consecration Lake. Just west of this vantage point, there was a second lake, Tawasentha. Old maps of the Cemetery also show a slate quarry and springs near this spot.

Consecration and Tawasentha have both long since been drained. Remnants of the damns and the bridges which linked the Ridges can still be spotted along the stream's course.

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