History

Formerly known as the Amsterdam Reservoir, Galway Lake was constructed in 1855, and in the next twenty years, it was enlarged twice, to its present size, with a surface area of about 564 acres. It was owned by the Amsterdam Water Works Company and used to power mills in the Amsterdam area. The Galway Campers’ Association became owners in 1980 and constructed the current dam at that time.

Henry Rostin was a dam/gate-keeper for Amsterdam Water Works in the early 20th century and also maintained a small store and boat livery at his home at the end of Point Road – see circa 1900 photo. Tenting at the lake was also popular in the early 1900s before camps began to be built – see Claflin family campsite in 1907.

Glacial features: Galway Lake has two glacial features—erosional and depositional, as Bruce Rowell told us on an ecology tour on the lake. “One common type of erosional feature is glacial meltwater stream channels. The Chuctanunda Channel of the Galway Lake channel lies exactly due west of us. It is a natural channel that was formed against stagnant ice diverting streams. The Chuctanunda Creek enters the lake from the north end. It is our major tributary or creek. It comes down from the north and about mid-lake, it takes a right angle turn and goes off to the west. The natural channel was formed by ice to the south and ice to the north and east limiting streamflow to the west, like squirting toothpaste out of a tube. The channel was slightly modified by construction of Point Road, but the channel is naturally straight, and surprises people who thought it was dug.”