This Month in History – Sept.
A company of Indian chiefs passed through the village on their way to New York City to take part in a conference with the whites. They stayed at the MacKinister Tavern and attracted a great deal of attention.
Belle Boyd, the notorious rebel spy during the Civil Was, was a resident of Little Falls, living here under the name of Mrs. Hammond. While in the village, she made herself very conspicuous, and created quite a sensation as a stylish woman whose acquaintance was eagerly cultivated. She left Little Falls with a number of unsettled debts.
Little Falls Council 220, Knights of Columbus took possession of their new home on East Main Street with D. H. Burrell, Mrs. D. H. Burrell, and Loomis Burrell assisting in the title transfer. The home was erected in 1834 by Thomas Burch. The home was also owned by Lorenzo Carryl, Watts Loomis, and Dr. William Garlock.
Today is gasolineless Sunday.
Talaquega Park, a free camping place for motorists, has been established on the River Road just east of the city. It has become one of the most popular and best camping places for motor campers in the state. It features electric lights, lavatories with running spring water, fireplaces and other conveniences.
Airplanes of the American Society for Promotion of Aviation, flown by Empire Air Circus pilots, will sweep over Little Falls and drop 25 copies of the “Evening Times” over Main Street, some containing tickets entitling the finders to free airplane rides.
Little Falls has 2,248 pleasure cars and another 618 on the rural routes. Servicing these cars, there are 27 local garages and gas stations employing 97 persons.
Hubie Brown, a young graduate of Niagara University, arrived in Little Falls to coach basketball and baseball at St. Mary’s Academy. Hubie went on to coach in the NBA where he was twice named Coach of the Year. Chosen to the National Basketball of Fame in 2005, he continued his career as the preeminent NBA television analyst.
At a meeting of the Little Falls Kiwanis Club, City Historian Edward Cooney indicated that it was still possible that the Erie Canal Museum would be located here. For many years, Cooney, Donal Hurley and a group of other local supporters have lobbied State officials, hosted many visits to proposed sites, and enlisted support from elected officials. The museum was never built.
Many local dairy farmers are protesting the low price paid for milk by dumping their milk rather than selling it. The low price is exacerbated by the farmers having to pay hauling, advertising , and federal dairy herd termination costs. One local farmer pointed out the cost for a glass of milk on the Thruway is 10 times the price the farmers receive.
Hundreds of old family keepsakes, unearthed from forgotten nooks and corners, are on display in several store windows along Main Street. Items included a pocketbook used in 1757, an old German bed warmer, a 118 year old spinning wheel, one of the first cameras used in Little Falls, Nicholas Herkimer’s commission appointing him a general in the U. S. army dated September 5, 1776, and a 200 year old Ox yoke.
It was hoped that Little Falls would escape the infantile paralysis, but that was not the case. An eight year-old local boy seems to have contacted the disease in Syracuse, and was diagnosed here and has died. Several families in the neighborhood who had been exposed are under a strict quarantine.
WW II Era – With V-J Day, World War II is finally over. The formal Japanese surrender ceremony was held in Tokyo Bay aboard the battleship, U.S.S. Missouri. People took to the streets in Little Falls and celebrated. During the war, twenty-eight Little Falls boys served as pilots in the military.
Our village authorities have placed a fountain in the center of the reservoir in Western Park. It is useful to prevent scum from forming upon the water. This improvement has long been needed.
The bank vault at the National Herkimer County bank in Little Falls could not be opened when a bolt of the combination lock slipped down. Efforts by local locksmiths to open the safe were not successful, and a locksmith had to be “imported” from New York City to complete the job by nightfall.
The Little Falls Republicans always have had their gatherings at the Allerton Hotel which has been torn down to make way for the new Hotel Snyder. In keeping with tradition, the local G.O.P. had their caucus, prior to the county convention, at the same site but in the now vacant lot.
An auto “Sociability Run” was made by twenty one automobiles from Little Falls to Cooperstown and return. The autos, all with several passengers, leaving at 5 minute intervals, made the trip via Herkimer, Ilion, Cedarville, Richfield Springs and Fly Creek. Frank Shall won first prize with a time of six hours and 30 seconds. Mrs. O. Dempster, the only woman, came in second.
Militias in New York State were called into service to relieve the garrison at Sackets Harbor. The Herkimer and Montgomery detachments, totaling 216 men, rendezvoused at Little Falls.
Alarms have been sounded, and the Board of Health is concerned about the prevalence of “fever” in our village. A large number of cases are found amongst workers at the Little Falls Knitting Mill. Well water from a spring used by many was suspected, tests showed no contamination from sewer and privy water – but the well contained vegetable organic matter. Sanitary conditions at the mill were found to be satisfactory.
A heat wave continued in the area with temperature at Niagara Mohawk power station in Little Falls hitting a high of 99F on Sept. 2, 100F on Sept.3, and 98F on Sept. 4.
Thousands of people welcomed the Viking ship Draken Harald Harfagre to the Little Falls Marina for a two day stay. The Draken is the largest authentic Viking ship in the world, and has a crew of 32. Sailing from Norway, the vessel travelled the historic route across the North Atlantic taken by the Vikings over 1,000 years ago. Food for the crew was provided by locals.
Our Board of Education has leased a part of the old store-house adjoining Timmerman’s coal yard for a school house for the south side. The end next to the canal will be occupied, and it is being fitted up and furnished with seats taken from the brick school house.
Members of the Legislative Committee on Preservation and Restoration of Historic Sites, along with local historians, inspected the old Inland Navigation Lock from the 1796 canal. Efforts are being made to preserve the lock as it is one of the oldest in the nation.
Terry Tippin, of Avon, Connecticut, has purchased the Little Falls Masonic Temple from the local Masons. Mrs. Tippin plans to live in part of the building, built in 1914, and use another part for a pottery studio and showroom. The Masons will continue to meet at the building for the time being.
Father John Shanahan began recording information on baptisms, marriages, and deaths at St. Mary’s parish. He covered an area extending from Tribes Hill to Deerfield and the valley towns to Newport most likely by horseback or horse and buggy.
The presidential party, on its tour to Chicago, stopped in Little Falls. President Johnson appeared briefly and gave a short address from the rear platform of the train. General U.S. Grant, Admiral Farragut, William Seward and other notables were in the party.
The steam “merry-go-round” is still in operation at the corner of Burwell and Alexander streets and is apparently doing a good business.
As of this date, there were twenty-three lawyers in Little Falls.
The canal boat “Gilbert Green”, bound to New York from Syracuse, sprang a leak and sank near the Taylor Driving Park with 230 tons of salt on board. The loss of salt is a total one.
A military funeral was held at St. Mary’s church for Sergeant Dennis J. Ryan, the first local soldier to die in the service of his country. His body was laid in state at the K. of C. home. The Home Defense fired a last salute over the grave. He died at Fort Lee of a heart condition due to heat exhaustion.
Not too far from the Shell blockhouse, Lt. Solomon Woodworth and his scouting party were ambushed by Indians . Woodworth and 21 other brave patriots were killed in a matter of minutes.
Two sulphur springs were discovered about 50 rods from the new cemetery, in Furnace Hollow creek about one-half mile from the village.
All opposed to sewers should take a walk around the corner of Albany Street and Eastern Avenue (West Main Street.) We think that after looking at the state of affairs in that location they will be converted to the idea that sewers in this village are an actual necessity.
After operating, first from her home at 617 Albany Street with five residents, Catherine Van Allen opened her nursing home in the former Victorian Sheard Mansion at 29 Jackson Street. Thirty-two residents will occupy the first two floors while Mrs. Van Allen and her five children will live on the third floor.
Mayor Ted Wind has proclaimed today as “Mohawk Valley Garlic Growers’ Day” in honor of the garlic festival to be held in Little Falls at Canal Place.
Daring robberies and thefts are becoming all too common in our village demanding watchmen at the most important points within a short time. Several places have been robbed – most of the transgressions involving watches and jewelry.
About 1800 people attended the pilgrimage of St. Mary’s church to the Auriesville Shrine on the West Shore Railroad.
A contract was awarded to Casey & Murray to construct the Barge Canal (Erie Canal) through Little Falls.
Leon Dussault’s Orchestra and a group local people under the auspices of the American Legion, broadcast from WGY in Schenectady. There were so few radios in Little Falls that groups gathered at places such as the Y.W.C.A. to listen.
The Modoc base ball club of Canajoharie came to Little Falls to play the local “White Stockings” and were “scalped” by a score of 53 to 13. Williams and Selcer each scored 10 runs for the locals.
The banner read – “A war to end wars!” That’s what the first 14 young men from Little Falls thought as they were sworn into the service of the nation and departed for army training camps. They would join millions of humans across the seas locked in a death grip with their foes in World War I.
Work crews tearing up Garden Street between Waverley Place and Salisbury Street unearthed wooden water pipes from a water delivery system that had been discontinued from service over 100 years ago. Several years ago, similar wooden pipes were found during excavation for Shopper’s Square.
The parochial school connected with St. Mary’s church opened with nearly 300 pupils, with their instructions being furnished by four lay teachers. The average for each teacher is too large for the best results, but no more than for Union schools. The large number in students is due in part to child labor laws in our mills.
The new bell for the school house on Church street, weighs 387 pounds. It can be heard nearly anywhere in the village.
The old Gem Theatre in the Beniens block has been closed and the new Gem theatre, with a capacity of 425 on the ground floor and first balcony, has been opened. The natty little new playhouse has been crowded at each of the three nightly performances.
Some boys playing in Foley’s gulf above German Street (Flint Avenue) found curious items in a cavity beneath a large rock. Lumps of silver and babbitt metal, hammers, kettles, ladles, and molds for casting 10, 25, 50, and one-dollar coins. The nature of the find indicated the genuine counterfeit equipment had been in the ground for a long time.
The contractor building the new City Hall, George Willis Company, declared bankruptcy. James Hallinan was engaged to complete the project.
The Little Falls Military Band showed cash receipts of $212.81 and disbursements of $134.41 for Pavement Dances held during the summer of 1922. Four concerts were held with 1,989 tickets being sold at 10 cents each. Popcorn and ice cream sales amounted to $13.91.
President Martin Van Buren arrived in Little Falls in a barouche drawn by four white horses to the applause and cheering of a large crowd of citizens. After a speech and festivities, Van Buren spent the evening at the Lansing residence at 22 Church Street. He left behind his red night cap which is now a treasured souvenir of the Lansing family.
Before a large gathering, the cornerstone ceremony was held for the majestic Masonic Temple to be built at the corner of Prospect and Church Streets. The architect, William Neil Smith, cited the French Medieval Period as his inspiration for the structure on a hillside overlooking the beautiful Mohawk Valley.
Today has been proclaimed as “Francis J. Bellamy Day” in honor of the author of our National Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, who served as a Baptist minister in Little Falls from 1879 to 1885. A Bronze tablet on a boulder was placed in the park named for him on East Gansevoort Street.
Ted Wind, a lifelong Little Falls resident, and mayor of Little Falls for over 30 years and a Herkimer County Legislator for 10, years passed away. He is remembered most for helping to keep Little Falls Hospital open and a part of Bassett Healthcare, and spearheading the development of the Veterans Memorial sports complex. He was on the LFHS undefeated 1948 football team.
People passing the drinking fountain or watering trough at the junction of Albany and East Main streets say it is a nuisance. When a horse is drinking no one can pass on the walk. It is proposed the trough be moved to the park across the street.
Having paid the mortgage on the old church, the congregation, of the Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, under the leadership of Rev. Carl Schroeder, set forth to build a new church on Petrie Street.
The big new power plant of the Barnet Leather Company on East Mill Street, which was built on the labor-saving plan, was put into operation. The coal is not touched by human hands until it is dumped from a wagon into a pile of ashes.
Appraisals are being made by the State on land and buildings, that possibly will be acquired, on Mohawk Street from the guard gates to the lift bridge, and the northern side of Jefferson Street , for the expansion of the Barge (Erie) Canal.
The former Cherry-Burrell Plant 1, on Albany Street between Ann and Second streets, will be torn down, and an A & P Supermarket will be built on the site. As a part of the demolition, a wall of the old Presbyterian Church, erected about 1832 and one of the oldest structures in the city, will be razed.
The coveted “Airman of the Year Award” was given to Dr. H. D. Vickers of Little Falls by the Flying Physicians Association at their convention in Missouri. The award is to some person in general aviation or medicine who has made a notable contribution to aviation medicine or air safety. 2,000 doctors are members.
The boat “Hon. Titus Sheard” took a party of sixteen couples on a moonlight excursion to Frankfort. Music and refreshments were served on board to enliven and add sociability to the occasion, followed by a supper for the party in Frankfort. The return was made when the moon brightened the water.
Little Falls Fire Chief Edward Cooney is in New York City to attend a meeting of the National Association of Fire Chiefs. Cooney was selected to represent New York State as a Vice-President in the national association.
Little Falls came together when 2,000 people attended a candlelight vigil at Veterans Memorial Park to honor the thousands who lost their lives during the 9 -l! attack on the Twin Towers in New York City. The memorial service was brought together by Robin Klimacek and Bev Lamanna.
Alexander Ellice had purchased land from Warrener Deygerth and Jost Herkimer Jr., lots 12 and 13 of the Burnetsfield Patent at the little falls in 1773, and on September 17, 1774 contracted with Ebenezer Cox to build a mill and millhouse at that place.
Little Falls Lodge # 181 Free & Accepted Masons was formed with eight men in attendance. They first met in rooms above a store at the corner of Main and Ann Streets.
At the Battle of Antietam, the 34th Regiment made up of Little Falls and Herkimer County soldiers, lost 43 killed and 74 wounded.
A large band of gypsies are encamped west of the village. Their men traded horses and the women told fortunes and sold bric-a-brac.
The village purchased a lot on Garden Street for an engine house from Richard Ray Ward for $43.56. It later became a city garage, American Legion Post, and a hair salon.
The body of Little Falls constable Anson Casler was pulled from the canal. An autopsy concluded he had not drowned but died of a severe blow to his head. The previous evening, Casler had gone to the Southside, but was unsuccessful in issuing an assault & battery warrant against an alleged combatant in a fracas. After a lengthy trial, the defendant was found “not guilty,” and Casler’s murderer was never brought to justice.
Sanders Lansing, who came to Little Falls as a representative for the Ellice Estate, passed away today. County Judge from 1821 to 1828 he built the house at 22 Church Street in 1826.
A special reunion was held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the unbeaten 1948 LFHS football team. The team was honored at the Little Falls – Herkimer game at the West Monroe Street Field where Little Falls came from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat Herkimer 14 – 12.
The new expansion of the Little Falls Public Library has opened. The addition was beautifully designed to match the architecture of the original building. The opened space allows for the library to display their extensive collections of Little Falls diamonds and other rare collectables.
With a solemn final toast, “The Last Man’s Club” of Little Falls played out its final chapter and was dissolved. Formed in 1919 by twelve members of the glee club at St. Mary’s Academy, the group met at an annual dinner at Kane’s Tavern to toast deceased members. Phil Wlll uncorked a vintage bottle of 1939 white Bordeaux for the final toast.
The new industrial building erected by D. H. Burrell & Co., facing on Ann Street, is nearly ready for use. It is the company’s intention to improve the adjacent Albany Street property so all company business will be located in one area.
After much discussion and arguing, the Common Council passed a proposition increasing the speed limit of trollies running through Little Falls from five to ten miles per hour.
An old human skeleton was found under a King Street house while workers were excavating for a sewer line. Five coins found in the soil give an approximate date which coincides with the disappearance of a man who had been thought to have left the area according to Chief James Long.
Many hundreds of autos participated in the cavalcade celebrating the opening of the Gorge View highway. State and local officials gave felicitous talks on why it was necessary to carve out the new road, and eliminate the need of passing under the notorious Gulf Bridge.
WW II Era – The first fatal accident occurred on the George View Highway when a milk tanker tipped over in the small park at East Main and Hancock Streets killing an Ogdensburg man.
Richard Ray Ward gave the property for the Church Street Cemetery to the village.
The Farmer’s Club of Little Falls will hold their Sixth Annual Fair one mile west of Little Falls on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week. All animals on exhibition will be shown to the proper judges who will award ribbons and monetary prizes to the winners.
The title of “Union School and Academy” will be changed to “Little Falls High School” by the Board of Regents who passed an ordinance changing the names of all public secondary schools to High School. A large delegation of local students will be attending college or normal schools including Williams, Yale, Columbia, Vassar, Oberlin, and Albany, Oswego, Brockport & Geneseo Normal Schools.
The new schoolhouse on Church Street was put into use today. For the past few days the building has received scores of visitors every day, many of whom were little girls who expect to attend school in the new structure.
With the snip of a ribbon and a ride on a bicycle, Senator James Donovan and local resident, James Miller dedicated the new bicycle trail that runs from Railroad Street in the city to Fink’s Basin. Christened the “James Miller Miracle Mile and a Half,” the trail stretches for 1.3 miles along the bed of the abandoned West Shore Railroad tracks. Miller had lobbied for nine years to have the trail built.
There have been three shootings on the south side in the past five days including two murders. The latest was the slaying of John Fuda, who was lured to a lonely spot on German Street (Flint Avenue) and shot in the back of the head. He was last seen walking with two strangers, reportedly from Utica.
Rev. Anthony Spina, organizer and beloved first pastor of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic parish in Little Falls, has been transferred to Schenectady. Father Spina has been in the city for nearly eleven years and founded the Italian congregation here as well as being active in civic affairs.
Approximately 400 of St. Mary’s parishioners and friends assembled for the dedication of the new multi-purpose auditorium-gymnasium that had been erected at the rear of St. Mary’s Academy. Most Rev. Edwin B. Broderick, bishop of Albany was present to bless the building. Rev. Joseph F. Barker was present as pastor. John B. McGuire was toastmaster.
During the evening, Anson Brown, a clerk at the Herkimer County bank, borrowed the key to the bank from Albert Story, cashier, allegedly to draw some money on two small checks. Brown, and two accomplices, removed $72,857 in bank notes, gold, and silver and fled to the Albany area. Caught within 30 hours, all but $810 was recovered.
The 34th Regiment, the pride of Little Falls and Herkimer County, has been literally cut to pieces in a recent battle, and could muster only 32 men. It is hoped to presume, after all stragglers return, they would scarcely number a few hundred men.
Little Falls’ Civil War veterans are looking forward to their twenty year reunion. It promises to be one of the “biggest days” the village has seen in a long, long time. General Priest is furnishing special trains to bring in various musical and marching groups as far away as Sackett’s Harbor.
The Hancock Street syndicate has presented the village with a small triangular piece of ground at the junction of East Main and Handcock streets for a public park.
A meeting was held and eighty- eight subscribers agreed to furnish funds to build an eight sided union church to be known as the Octagon Church. John Porteus donated the land and burial ground for the church as well as twenty pounds. The eight sides of the church denoted that it was intended for all denominations.
In a letter entitled “Dear Posterity,” 33 year old Hon. Arphaxed Loomis wrote a letter which was put in the cornerstone of the Presbyterian Church at the corner of Albany and Ann streets. In it he recounts what was happening in the community, then a small village of 1,300 inhabitants when he was village president.
“The MacKinnon mills have closed, but there is nothing to worry about” said the Evening Times. Soon later, owner Robert MacKinnon, who was earning $90,000 to $120,000 per year filed for bankruptcy, and then lost $110,000 in Mexican Bonds. He went to work in Livingston’s shirt waist company in Little Falls for $25 a week. He died here at the home of his sister.
Former local south side merchant, Louis Malkoon, and his son, Rocco, were found shot to death, at close range, alongside a road in the Town of Frankfort. State Police believe the slayings were a result of a bootleg war. Some local men were quizzed regarding the crime.
The cornerstone was laid for the second African Methodist Episcopal Church on West Main Street in Little Falls. There is no record when the first African M. E. Zion had been built here.
On this date Alexander Ellice died in Bath, England. The Ellice Estate, headed by his son Edward, an influential member of the British House of Commons, maintained a tight grip on water rights along the river at Little Falls, and other aspects of the life of the community. Ellice had acquired a valuable mill-site at Little Falls from Sir William Johnson.
The first Methodist church in Little Falls, built on Third Street, was dedicated on this date by Bishop Elijah Hedding. The parish outgrew this building and built a new church in 1876. The old building became the Polish Community Association.
Riverside Industrial Park, situated on 24 acres between the railroad tracks and the Mohawk River just west of Hansen Island, is being developed by the City of Little Falls.
Professor William Rullison, the great trapeze aeronaut, is visiting his native Little Falls, after a successful Rockaway Beach tour with T. S. Baldwin, the parachute jumper. Rullison has made over 900 ascensions on the flying bar, hanging by his toes.
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!