Cohoes is located at the northeast corner of Albany County. It is called the "Spindle City" because of the importance of textile manufacturing to its growth in the 19th century processing cotton in city factories originally produced in the Deep South.
Cohoes is at the confluence of the Mohawk with the Hudson River, where the Mohawk forms several channels and islands. Cohoes is named for its most famous landmark, the Cohoes Falls, a majestic waterfall first seen by the area's successive generations of indigenous peoples. In the historic era, these were the Mohawk Nation.
At the start of the 20th century, daredevil Bobby Leach practiced going over the Cohoes Falls in a barrel before he performed the same stunt at Niagara. Cohoes residents watched this feat from the lawn or the porch of The Cataract House, the Victorian hotel at the corner of North Mohawk and School streets. This site was later developed as the present School Street Power Station.
From 2005 to 2013 the Harmony Mills were redeveloped and restored by real estate developer Uri Kaufman. Kaufman converted the Mills to luxury loft apartments, sparking a revival in the heart of the City.