Horton Falls named for Pioneer Hydrologist



A beautiful 80-foot waterfall in the Catskill Mountains was recently named after Robert E. Horton (1875–1945), a pioneer hydrologist and active AGU member for many years. Officially named Horton Falls, the waterfall, located a few miles east of Voorheesville, N.Y., in Albany County, was an important part of Horton's hydrological laboratory. The U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved the name at its November 8, 1990 meeting.

Horton lived close to the falls and operated his hydrological laboratory at its crest in the old La Grange Grist Mill, which used hydropower generated by the falling waters of the La Grange Mill Pond, originally impounded by a wooden log dam 100 feet upstream of the mill. As far as can be determined, the pioneer La Granges, who built and operated the mill, never used the 85-foot head made available to them by the waterfalls. Horton, however, did, and ran a vertical and a horizontal iron water wheel to spin a DC electricity-generating turbine, which he used for heat, light, and power in his home and laboratory.