This Week in History – Week of April 19th
At 11:33 pm, the New York Central Lake Shore Limited, speeding to make up for lost time, crashed at the sharp Gulf Curve in Little Falls killing 31 and injuring over 100 others. The massive pileup taxed the resources of the local hospital and community, however they responded in a magnificent and heroic manner to the disaster.
At the former LiFalco Manufacturing plant on East Mill Street, a small group of local entrepreneurs are building canoes out of a new material, fiberglass. All of the canoes are being taken by Horrocks & Ibbotson Company of Utica, a distributor of sporting goods. Neil Baum is president, Ed Cigale vice-president, and Ed Gregorka secretary-treasurer.
A group of Albany men purchased the Ellice’s holdings, and held a meeting at the McKinster House to dispose of the lots and property.
It has been decided to build a footbridge on the east side of the Mohawk River bridge. This will accommodate foot passers who currently risk being knocked off should a runaway team happen along, or have to wade through slush and mud during spring and autumn.
The Board of Health should compel the removal of all slaughter houses to outside the corporate limits, at least during the summer months. No one wants to be near the numerous establishments on Mill Street and vicinity that are close to our mills and many dwellings. Windows had to be closed on account of the nauseating odors emanating from them.
There will be a balloon ascension tonight at 8 o’clock on Main Street.
As a part of the Liberty Loan campaign, a seven foot diameter ball is being rolled from Buffalo to New York City. The jouncing sphere was pushed through Little Falls by Boy Scouts ahead of a five division parade with twenty five hundred people in line including fifteen hundred union members. After a speech by Mayor Zoller, the scouts rolled the ball to East Creek.
The recently remodeled and redecorated Sokol Hall on Flint Avenue will host a big gymnastic meet and exhibition today with venues at both the Y.M.C.A. and the hall. Teams from Rochester, Gloversville, Binghamton, Johnstown, and Little Falls will be in competition.
Several new streets are to be opened and a number of new buildings are to be erected including two houses of public worship – Baptist and Presbyterian – and a third, the Episcopal, is in contemplation. The chant is “Let the people with money come on to Little Falls and use the water front.”
Miss Annie S. Wall, deputy state factory inspector, was brought to the city by the mill owners to get an official interpretation of the newly amended state factory law. She indicated they were conforming with the law, but were not fully aware of its provisions. Further, she said “ …. and the mill owners of this city now gives as little trouble as any in the state.”
Corporal John B. Reardon enjoys the distinction of being the only man from Little Falls cited for bravery during World War I. A member of the 77th division, his citation was for bringing food and ammunition to his comrades in the “lost battalion” in the Argonne sector. His Captain said “He would carry rations to hell if men needed them there.”
One of the most pleasant social events of the waning season was the private social given by the Celtic Lyceum at the Star Academy tonight. Refreshments were served, and Fallis’ orchestra furnished music for the occasion.
The grand colored ball and cake walk was held this evening at the Chronkhite Opera House under the direction of Professor Johnson. The cake walk was participated in by couples from Utica, Syracuse and other neighboring cities.
The wreck of the American Mail & Express train in Little Falls has been determined to be premediated. A person or persons, put obstructions in the switches causing the engine to “leap” from the rails. The engineer and fireman were badly injured.
The fire alarm system was transferred to the City Hall which was still under construction. Fire Chief Ed Cooney moved in that day, so as to take care of the equipment.
John Chester resigned his position as boss spinner at the Saxony Knitting Mills after thirty-one years of service. The spinners presented him an elegant gold-headed cane. The cane is a handsome ebony stick with a massive gold head monogramed with the letters “J. C.”
Dr. Augustus B. Santry, three-time mayor of Little Falls (1908-1909 and 1931-1935) passed away today. Dr. Santry practiced medicine in Little Falls for more than half a century and served for many years as health officer of the city.
Honey Russell, basketball coach at Seton Hall, was the speaker at the Varsity Club’s ninth annual Athletic Awards banquet at the Masonic Temple. Trophies were awarded to star athletes from LFHS and St. Mary’s. Russell was also reunited with three members of the 1929-30 LFHS state championship basketball team who had played for him on a Utica pro basketball team.
The Little Falls Historical Society received a provisional charter from the University of the State of New York Education Department. This capped a multi-year battle with the Urban Renewal Agency to prevent the 1833 historic Herkimer County Bank building from being torn down.
The Little Falls Housing Authority awarded contracts for the construction of the housing development, the Valley View Courts, on East Monroe Street Extension. Work is expected to start next month.
In the first village census, it was reported Little Falls had 1602 inhabitants of whom 85 were listed as “colored.”
A huge boulder rolled 326 feet down from the Rollway cliffs on the South Side, and plunged through the roof of a German Street (Flint Avenue) residence landing on the second story bed of Frank Van Wie , carrying the bed and Van Wie through to the cellar. Mr. Van Wie was killed instantly. A mother and a young child in a room below that of Van Wie’s were unharmed.
The Rovazzi Grill on Second Street advertised a mushroom stew sandwich for15 cents and spaghetti with chicken for 40 cents.
The Mohawk Valley Choral Society and Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Christensen, Conductor presented Mozart’s “Requiem” at St. Mary’s Church before a large audience..
The Evening Times received a letter from President Ronald Reagan congratulating the newspaper on its !00th anniversary of publishing and service to the greater Little Falls community.
A human skeleton was found in a box which had floated down the Mohawk River and grounded on Moss Island. It was joined together by wires and was evidently the property of some doctor. Strange driftwood!
The Cronkhite Opera House had a program “Tent Life in Palestine”, a tale of travel in the world’s most interesting land.
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!