This Week in History – Week of June 28th
On this date hostilities began between the United States and Great Britain in what became to be known as “The War of 1812.” The Western Inland Lock Navigation Company canal at Little Falls, with its five locks, experienced high volumes of passage of stores, supplies, and military personnel destined to Lake Ontario to support the war effort.
Authorities are enforcing the law regarding cattle running in the village streets. It is hoped that property owners will take down cattle fences in front of their homes, put in beautiful lawns, and beautify our streets. These changes can be made without danger of four-footed intruders.
Watts T. Loomis has two fine banana trees on the lawn in front of his residence. Quite a new thing for this locality.
Bids will be received today for the construction of a new iron bridge across the Mohawk River at the foot of Ann Street. Bids will also be received for repair of the current stone structure. It is estimated that cost for repair will be one third the cost of a new bridge.
A skeleton was uncovered while workers were excavating for the new addition to the Elk’s home on North Ann Street. The bones were located five feet beneath the surface. Chief of Police Reardon indicated the State Police Laboratory analysis shows the bones were from three or more persons. A doctor’s office was, at one time, located next door to the site.
A fire broke out overnight in the mechanical/carpenter shop at Little Falls Lumber Company on Southern Avenue. Firemen fought the blaze for two hours and continued to fight hotspots for several hours.
The Presbyterian congregation was organized on this date, and the first elders were chosen in 1813, and the assemblage entered into ecclesiastical connection with the Presbytery of Oneida. The congregation originally worshiped at the old Octagon church until a brick church was erected in 1842 on the corner of Ann and Albany Streets.
Born in New Hampshire, studied under Daniel Webster, fought in the War of 1812, author of the first history of Herkimer County, longtime Little Falls resident and political activist, Nathaniel S. Benton passed away today at his 1825 home, built by him, on Garden Street. A lawyer, he served as Surrogate of Herkimer County, was a member of the New York State Senate, a U. S. Attorney, & auditor of the canal department. Benton Hall Academy and Benton’s Landing were named in his honor.
The Board of Education contracted with William Dove for the erection of a new Grade and High School on the site of the Academy and Benton Hall. While work was progressing during the winter, classes were held in Quackenbush Hall.
In a solemn ceremony, Mayor Zoller paid tribute to twenty-three local men who died during service in World War I. Eleven had died from battle wounds and twelve from the flu pandemic.
“Pirates” on the canal! The crew of the boat “Rising Sun” stole goods from a Canajoharie judge. They were followed up the canal to Little Falls by a constable. After a chase up the Rollway, the constable, with local assistance, arrested the rogues and returned them to Canajoharie.
Rev. A.V. Dickson, of the A. M. E. Zion church of Little Falls, has made arrangements for a ten day grand old-fashioned colored camp meeting at Wilcox’s Grove. All ground privileges have been sold, and ministers from Washington, Jersey City, Elmira, Oneida, Gloversville, and Troy will be in attendance. A troupe of colored jubilee singers from New York City has been engaged. . Admission is 10 cents.
Two immense greenhouses, each 130 feet by 20 feet, are to be located up-the-hill from D. H. Burrell’s “Overlook Mansion.” In addition to flowers for decorating the tables and grounds of the estate, rare orchids will be grown under controlled conditions.
The Lift Lock Celebration began for the opening of Lock 17, the highest single lift in the Western Hemisphere at 40 ½ feet. In conjunction with the opening, a mammoth Historical Pageant of the Mohawk Valley and a large parade were held in Little Falls.
The last trolley leaves Little Falls at 10:52 pm, unhonored and unsung, to make the final interurban run between the city and up-valley towns. At the same time, two bus companies inaugurated service between the various communities.
Superintendent of Schools, Joseph S. Horton, retired after over 30 years of service as a chief school administrator and eleven years in the local school system.
Mrs. Catherine Van Allen has purchased the Ford Trask home at 48 North Ann Street for use as a home for the aged. The “St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged” will be operated by Mrs. Van Allen’s son Bill and his wife Theresa. Note: In March 1974 this home and Mrs. Van Allen’s nursing home at 29 Jackson Street both moved to a new facility on upper East Monroe Street.
There were two taverns in Little Falls, one was the “American House” at the northwest corner of John and Ann streets, and the other “Cranes” on Main Street.
Washington Hall was built at the northwest corner of Mill and Ann streets by S. W. Stimson, and was dedicated to free speech, anti-slavery, and temperance. Many famous people entertained here, including Jenny Lind. And for a time, Catholics and Universalists held services here. After the Skinner Opera house was built on Main Street its popularity declined, and in 1853 it was converted to tenements.
A female baseball club from Brooklyn played a game with a picked nine from Furnace Street. Two of the locals actually knew something about the game; the rest were about as handy with a bat and ball as a goat would be with a typewriter.
Mr. and Mrs. J. D. Davis, with their machinist, arrived by automobile from New York City, on their way to San Francisco. While driving through Main Street, the right rear wheel collapsed. After repair, the “team” continued on to Utica, a run of 22 miles, taking three hours and twenty minutes.
Miss Mabel Richards was appointed librarian. There was a joint public and school library from 1912 to 1930 at which time a separate library was established at the high school. The library moved to the Smith house in January 1912.
Around this date, Reardon and Shults made a home-talent movie for their “Family Theatre” featuring local residents. The leading lady was Jeanette Horton who was employed by the Herkimer County Trust Company. A short-time resident, Mr. Lamke was the leading man, while Chief of Police Long was the heroine’s father. Many other local residents were in the film.
Anthony Carlisto, president of Little Falls Motel Associates, announced that the name of the Little Falls motel is being changed from “Best Western” to “The Knights Inn.”
The “Taylor Driving Park” is the name given the new sporting grounds on the south side on the river, west of the village, in honor of its first president, Oscar Taylor.
A fire at 2 o’clock in the morning at the Hinchman House Barn on Albany street caused $54,000 in damages. Valuable furnishings, goods and property were removed from the hotel and adjoining stores by the firemen. The whole corner of Main and Second streets, as well as the Hinchman House itself, was wiped out. It was felt that the fire was an act of arson.
Dynamite firecrackers were responsible for five bad accidents in Little Falls over the holiday. Two young boys lost their right hands, one boy had severe injuries to his fingers, another had injuries to his left eye when the contents exploded, and an older lady badly injured her hand while amusing her grandchildren.
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!