May 1st


S. F. Bennet, begs leave to inform the citizens of Little Falls and vicinity, that he is now receiving a very extensive stock of Books and Stationary, cheap Literature, Toys and Fancy Goods, Looking Glasses, Hard Ware, Woolen Ware, and every description of Groceries, Fruit, &c. which he offers for sale at greatly reduced prices for ready pay.


Rollin Smith requested permission to build a bandstand in Eastern Park and collected the funds necessary for the construction. It was  completed in time for the Memorial Day dedication of the Soldiers’ Monument in the park by the G.A.R.


The control of the Police and Fire Departments passed from the Trustees to a commission named Board of Fire and Police consisting of the Mayor and four Commissioners, but the Mayor has no vote.


A large crowd of people gathered at the Central railroad station to see the facsimile of the original “DeWitt Clinton” locomotive and the first coaches drawn by it over the Albany & Schenectady Railroad.


H. P. Snyder Manufacturing completed a shipment of 500 bicycles to a firm in Wolverhamton, England. Since December 1899, the company has produced 11,953 bicycles, the largest number ever turned out in a similar length of time.

Edward Cooney was appointed Little Falls’ first paid fire chief, a position he held for 47 years. During his tenure, he oversaw the transition from horse- drawn to motor-driven apparatus.


The Stacey Cheese Company ceased operations when the executives foresaw the decline of Herkimer County as the center of the cheese trade, and the building space was taken over by the Little Falls Felt Shoe Company which had been founded in 1905. Irving E. Stacey is president of both companies.


City Historian, Edward J. Cooney Jr. completed reviewing records and interviewing Little Falls participants in World War Ii. He totaled 1688 men and 69 women, and could not find records for another 11. 363 were married before entering the service, another 256 after joining up.


The A&P grocery stores are discontinuing the distribution, begun in 1961, of Plaid Trading Stamps.

May 2nd


A freight train of the Central composed of 135 cars passed through Little Falls. It was probably the longest train ever drawn by one engine, being over a mile in length.


A council of the Knights of Columbus was organized in the old Gymnasium Hall in the McCaley Building in Little Falls. The society has grown greatly in favor among the Catholic people of the area and has a very large membership. 61 candidates were initiated the Major Degree of the Order by Judge John J. Delaney of New York City.


Health Officer Dr. A.B. Santry reported that the small-pox epidemic in Little Falls has ended. Sixty cases were placed under strict quarantine, and guards were on a vigorous watch at each house so others might not be exposed. The epidemic has cost Little Falls more than the textile strike.


Alan N. Vincent of Little Falls was confirmed as a member of the recently established Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. The commission’s charter is designed to enhance tourism, education, recreation, and economic development along the more than 500 mile waterway corridor.

May 3rd


A collection of animals were exhibited at the Eagle Tavern, consisting of an elephant, African lions, tiger, cerval, cougar, panther, camel, apes, etc. A pretentious menagerie was viewed with keen interest by people from all around the neighborhood.


The Angenvine Natural History Museum was on exhibition in the Public Square (Western Park) in tents set up for the occasion. The show travelled by boat. This was believed to be the first “circus” to visit Little Falls.


A chance is now given Little Falls people to stop paying the heavy royalties on Bell telephones that they have kicking about for years. All they need to do is to stick by the new Interstate Company, and this will be possible.


Chief of Police James Long has returned from Colorado, bringing with him John N. Blair of the town of Little Falls, who is wanted for deserting his wife. He located Blair on a sheep ranch, and arrested him with a warrant charging him for non-support.


Felix Frederiksen , Little Falls native and son of the famous cheese expert Johan Frederiksen,  died at age 81. Encouraged by his father, he started a cheese-making business in the city on East Monroe Street, and eventually moved to Minnesota where he became the first to commercially produce bleu cheese.


Demolition continued on a large part of Shopper’s Square to make room for a new 30,500 square foot Price Chopper supermarket. The grocery store will be built on the western end of the site, while the eastern end will undergo renovations. The total cost of the project is $6,459,149.

May 4th


Nate Bradford reports that 3,091 people took their meals at his hotel. They consumed six hundred pounds of meat, a barrel of coffee, two chests of tea, eight tubs of butter, six barrels of flour, one thousand pounds of sugar, five hundred cans of fruit and vegetables, ten hundred pounds of cheese, besides other provisions such as potatoes, & turnips.


The grand opening of the new Price Chopper supermarket  in downtown Little Falls began today and will extend for the next two weeks.

May 5th


The Herkimer Telephone Company is fitting up an office in the Petrie Block, at the northeast corner of Main and Second Streets. Connections will be had with Utica and there are 25 subscribers. Rates are $40 a year for business places, and $36 for residences.


By a law lately enacted it is made a misdemeanor to throw tacks or broken glass in the way of bicycles. The offense has been committed in Little Falls, and if repeated it will not be well for the person who may be found guilty.

May 6th


On this day, John Splan was born in Little Falls, and by the age of seven “had a fair notion of a horse.” He hung around local stables and race tracks and ran away from home at a young age. Splan became a very early pioneer in the sport of trotters and became famous throughout the country in racing circles. Many of the training techniques he developed are still in use today.


Men who were engaged in work on the new Grace block on William Street came upon 500 pennies which had been stowed away in the ancient structure for many long years. Some of the pennies dated back as far as 1811 and were of the large sized variety. 

May 7th


An ordinance was passed to change the name Telegraph Street to Mohawk Street and President Street to Jefferson Street.


Mr. and Mrs. George Sanborn, of Utica, visited Little Falls today in the locomobile, a very neat horseless carriage, of the gasoline variety. Its adaptability for climbing our steep streets was shown by a run up Church and Prospect streets.


Pickpockets, operating at the Hippodrome, Gem Theatre, and other public gathering places, have met with much success in the city. Wallets, purses, and watches all have been lifted.


The Little Falls Citizens’ Advisory Committee proposes that the mayor appoint the library trustees.

May 8th


Mr. Bethune Dodd was appointed by the Presbytery to preach at the Octagon Church. The previous evening, he stayed at the home of John Porteous.


The cannon boomed and the headlines declared “LITTLE FALLS IS A CITY AT LAST” as the New York state legislature approved the charter for the village to become a city. Objections had been made for decades by the three towns from which the city was carved, Manheim, Danube, and Little Falls, because of the loss of tax revenue.


The newly formed Birgir Inc. on West Mill planned to manufacture high-grade caskets and sectional bookcases. Birgir Lundstrom heads the company.


WW II Era –  9,825 sugar ration books were issued, on 10,298 applications, at the four registration centers in the elementary schools of the city.


Because of declining membership, Masonic Lodge No. 181 F&AM of Little Falls will meet no more. It has merged with Lodge No. 796 of Dolgeville. At one time the local lodge had over 350 members and another 173 ladies who belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star. In existence in Little Falls for over 150 years, its last meeting was in December 2003.

May 9th


Hours were set for the public library which is located in the Chronkhite opera house block.


“The Jewelers Weekly” has mentioned J. H. H. Vosburgh’s remarkable collection of quartz crystals. The Little Falls man has a collection of more than 60,000 “diamonds” found within one mile of the village. This is one of the most unique and interesting collections of small crystals in the world. (Note: Mr. Vosburgh’s collection is on display at Colgate University.)


The South Side Union Church, a handsome structure conceived and constructed under the practical well doing of David H. Burrell, Sr. was dedicated. The first pastor is Dr. J. L. Humphrey who returned to Little Falls from missionary work in India.


In a light turnout, voters in the city approved two bonding propositions for executing public work to offset the slack industrial period and help reduce unemployment in the area. One was for paving Southern Avenue, and the second was for improvements at Church Street cemetery.


Loomis Burrell, chairman of the board of Cherry-Burwell Corp., was honored by Cornell University for outstanding contributions to the dairy industry.

May 11th


The village rented a building owned by McChesney & Furnan ,at the southwest corner of Albany and Second streets, for a new firehouse for Protection Engine Company #2 at a rate of $100 a year. As a result of this move, the south side of the river will have no fire protection.


Governor John T. Hoffman signed the “Finck’s Bridge Bill” much to the delight of the residents and friends of the bridge living east of Little Falls.


St. Mary’s Academy has a finely appointed chemistry laboratory where the students take great interest in their work under the tutelage of Dr. John Hurley a local pharmacist. Dr. Hurley, a member of the State Board of Pharmacy, is considered one of the best authorities in the State on chemical analysis.

May 12th


The village has purchased a three-cornered piece of land at the corner of Gansevoort and Salisbury streets that will allow it to extend Burwell street to intersect Gansevoort Street. The small triangular piece of land bounded by Burwell, Gansevoort, and Salisbury Streets will make a very handsome little park. Today it is known as “Bellamy Park.”


Dr. George A, Burgin, 71, died this morning in Little Falls Hospital. Dr. Burgin, long one of the city’s leading physicians and surgeons, was a past president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, a position he served in 1964-65.

May 13th


In Robert MacKinnon’s mill, census enumerators report:: Women of 16 or over 675; girls under 16, 23; men of 16 or over, 420; boys under 16, 22 ; total =1,140.


Becker’s Livery Stable, on South Second Street, is being torn down to make way for Bowman’s Garage. Later, this was the site of the Little Falls Wholesale Company near Luries.


At a jubilee service, St. Mary’s church, one of the largest and most active parishes in the Albany diocese, the parish  celebrated paying of the debt, and the 50th anniversary of the building of the edifice. In addition to area clergy, the occasion was attended by Cardinal Hayes from New York City, and Bishops Gibbons, Shahan, and Conroy.


At the 25th anniversary banquet for the Knights of Columbus # 220 in Little Falls, It was pointed out there were 620 local members in 1910, dropping to 160 after the Great Depression. The 1947 membership was 230.


Effective today, freight will no longer be unloaded in Little Falls as the New York Central Railroad is closing their freight house in the city.

May 14th


John Melish, visiting America from Great Britain, described his visit to Little Falls on this day. He wrote, “The road good, adjoining lands stony, but the wheat fields being green of a pleasing appearance.” He went on, “The village has 50 houses many of stone, 6 stores, 4 taverns, church, schoolhouse, 4 mills, and room for 100 mills along the river.”


A new brewery being formed by the Grace brothers is ready to open. One of the brothers spent many months in one of the most celebrated breweries in Burton-upon-Trent, England learning how to make a first-class ale.

May 15th


According to an appraisal filed in Surrogate Court in Herkimer, Edward J. Burrell left a net estate of $383,313.91. (Equivalent to $7,137,305 in 2020 dollars.)


WW II Era – Motorists rushed to fill their tanks before rationing takes effect today. Long lines of cars were waiting at every gas station and at least one station “went dry.” Many came with jars, cans, drums, and jugs to store a little “in reserve.” A majority of the sales were small, some amounting to only 25 or 30 cents. Nearly 2,000 people registered for rationing cards. 


The Little Falls Municipal Golf Course, located in the northern part of the city near the reservoir has opened. The course has a beautiful view overlooking the Mohawk Valley. The nine hole course is 3,200 yards long and plays to a par 36.


Dr. Jo Ann Crisp-Ellert, former Little Falls resident and daughter of legendary coach Wilbur Crisp, held a one person art show “Stone House” in Washington, D.C. where she resides. She earned a bachelor of fine arts degree from Syracuse University, and masters and Ph.D. from American University, and post graduate study at Royal College of Art, the Sorbonne, and Yale University. She teaches at the University of Virginia.


In a letter to the Evening Times, the president of the Board of Trustees of the Little Falls Public Library asked the public to support a separate proposition on the Little Falls City School District ballot giving the library funding of $55,000.

May 16th


The Buffalo Bill travelling show returned to Little Falls even though Buffalo Bill had retired. The show featured Jess Willard the former prize fighter.


Artistic Director Vlad Iftinca and Bellinger Performing Arts presented an “Opera and Broadway Treasures” concert at the Masonic Temple in Little Falls before an enthusiastic, sold-out audience.  Iftinca brought musical stars Kristn Mengelkoch, Musical Theater Soprano; Janara Kellerman, Mezzo-Soprano; John Moore, Baritone; and Peter Volpe, Bass to Little Falls.

May 17th


Dr. James Kennedy, Little Falls’ first doctor, who came to the “village” around 1797, sold his business and property on Church Street to Dr. Hosea Hamilton and John Dygert.


Confusion reigned as the main roadway through the village was called at various times, Western Avenue, Eastern Avenue, Catherine Street, First Street, and Main Street.  A resolution was passed calling these various streets “Main Street.”

May 18th


Prices at the market – Butter 45 cents a pound, Cheese 20 cents, Lard 30 cents, Eggs 40 cents a dozen, and Potatoes 63 cents a bushel.


The first match game of base ball of the season was played on the Academy grounds between the Shermans of Utica and the Pastimes of Little Falls. The score stood:  Shermans, 53 runs: Pastimes, 28 runs. Learn more about early base ball in Little Falls on our virtual exhibit.


The Austrians engaged on the Main street trenches attract much attention from the curious. The digging developed some interesting features of the ancient corduroy road over what was once a water hole near the intersection of Mary Street.


Mayor Dasey has contracted with the Little Falls Citizens’ band to conduct thirteen band concerts during the summer months – five each in Eastern and Western parks, and three at Clinton Park. The band has placed an order for new instruments.


A twelve year old girl on West Main Street submitted to an operation for appendicitis. Over-exertion in jumping rope is said to have caused the trouble.


The new Slovak church on East Jefferson Street was dedicated today as Christ Lutheran Church of Holy Trinity. The fine brick structure is a credit to the Slavish people of the city whose zeal and enterprise brought it into existence.


Movie stars James Cruze and Sidney Bracy made personal appearances at the Gem Theatre in Little Falls.


Local, state and federal officials were present at the groundbreaking for construction of the long-awaiting connector route between the East-West Arterial and the Little Falls Thruway interchange.

May 19th


Phillip Grossman, who owns a saloon opposite the N. Y. Central Railroad Depot, is advertising “I will keep constantly on hand at my saloon a supply of Limburger Cheese, Bologna Sausage, and Lager Beer.”


For the parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic church, the laying of the cornerstone for their new cathedral-like edifice at the corner of East Main and John Streets was a festive and impressive occasion.


Governor Roswell Pettibone Flower vetoed the city charter bill for Little Falls under the “back stairs” influence of Town of Little Falls supervisor Col. T Dasey. Dasey, fearful of losing extensive tax revenues should Little Falls become a city, has long opposed the measure.


An interesting game of basket ball was played at the gymnasium between ladies representing Utica and Little Falls, the latter winning by a score of 14 to 6. The large audience of about 500 was composed entirely of ladies and all were highly pleased.


There is nothing like a snow storm in the middle of May to bring back the annoying realities of Winter. An inch and a half of snow accumulated today in the city.

May 20th


News notes:  Seven men and one woman were prosecuted in Little Falls for violation of the village law prohibiting cattle in the street and paid a fine of one dollar. There were 8 west bound and 7 east bound trains through Little Falls at this date.


The Barge Canal construction has practically ruined the celebrated “Profile Rock” on Moss Island. A large concrete retaining wall is built alongside this historic structure. Initial plans called for entire obliteration of the rock, but a public appeal asked that as much of the rock be saved as possible.


Clocks were turned ahead in Little Falls, as the community joined the rest of the country in the first Daylight Saving Time.


It was a banner day for environmentalists as the decision was made that a Thruway connector bridge will not be built across Moss Island.  City officials siting “an indeterminable delay” at the federal level, reluctantly agreed to a route east of the island.

This Week in History” is brought to you by the Little Falls Historical Society. Please Visit the Little Falls Historical Society Website and please consider supporting the Museum by becoming a Member. Download the membership form here!