This Week in History – Week of March 15th
County Commissioners issued John Porteous a license “to retail Strong Liquors” presumably at his home/ store/ tavern at the little falls.
A private military company was formed, and a troop of horse or cavalry was organized from members who owned saddle horses. A General Muster Day was held annually in the fields above Main Street on what is now Garden Street.
The roller skating rinks at John and Main streets burned. No building has been erected since. It is now the site of St. Mary’s playground.
Actress Zoe Gayton arrived in Little Falls on her 3,395 mile walk from San Francisco to New York City. She was attempting to win a $2,000 wager that she could make the trip in 226 days. At Little Falls she was 206 miles ahead of schedule. As she left the city, many people walked with her toward St. Johnsville.
In a newspaper editorial, John B. McGuire agreed with a plan to give up the practice of sending floral tributes to departed friends, and instead divert the large sums spent for charitable purposes.
Around this date, the library board sent a letter to the Mayor and Common Council regarding a need for emergency funding to keep the library open for the remainder of the year.
Queensboro Farm Products, Inc. permanently closed its milk processing plant on Loomis Island after 20 years of operation. The company, which moved to Frankfort, indicated that the cost of constructing a sewer line hook-up plus the annual sewer charges were important factors in the company’s decision to move.
Natale (Nat) Bellochi, born in Little Falls of Italian immigrant parents, passed away. A graduate of Georgia Tech and Georgetown, he was a Korean War veteran and Ambassador to Botswana. Most of his time was spent in Asia, where he was considered the foremost U. S. expert on Taiwan affairs.
A traveling exhibition of waxworks and paintings showed at the MacKinster Hotel.
Tuition per term at the Little Falls Academy was: Primary Department $2.50; Spelling, Reading, Geography & Common Arithmetic $3.50; and High Studies $4.50 to $5.50.
Calico will be very largely worn this year, whether because of the hard times or the centennial year, has not yet been determined upon.
A delegation of local citizens called on President Chauncy M. Depew of New York Central Railroad of New York City. He agreed to build a new freight house and passenger station in Little Falls.
A damaging blaze in the Jefferson Street school early this morning, originating in the furnace room, left two rooms badly scorched. Fortunately, none of the students had reported for the morning session. Insurance covered all of the costs except on students’ books.
Mr. Searight, manager of the West Monroe Street ice skating rink, claims he got no money for managing the facility, and said the only thing he got was pneumonia. One payroll was met by D.H. Burrell to keep the rink open.
The New York Telephone Company announced that the city was due for dial phone service starting today. The new building opposite the City Hall has been completed and equipment installed to allow local patrons to dial almost anywhere in the United States.
The Herkimer County Trust Company has added two women to serve on the board of directors – the first women in the area to serve in that capacity. Both women, Mrs. Lillian W.B. Fisher and Mrs. Pamela B. Wright, come from families who have a long and distinguished history in Little Falls’ financial institutions.
The Roman Catholic “Father Matthew Total Abstinence Society”, lately organized in our village, held their services on St. Patrick’s Day at the Octagon Church under the direction of the Rev. J. Burke.
After a huge storm, the Mohawk River rose fifteen feet in a few hours and flowed over the stone bridge at the foot of Ann Street. Mill Street, between Ann and Elizabeth streets, was submerged to the depth of three feet. The bridge at Fink’s Basin was swept away.
Most of the old limestone sidewalks in the city are so smooth that they are a constant source of danger to pedestrians. It costs but little to have them roughed by a stonecutter, and it ought to be done.
Little Falls had a St. Patrick’s Day surprise with the largest winter storm to occur in many years, The highways and the Dolgeville railroad were blocked and to make things worse the temperature dropped to -12F in parts of the city.
Charles King, the last president of the village of Little Falls and the first mayor of the city of Little Falls, died at his home in Boston after a brief illness. Mr. King was the well-known owner, with his father, of the Saxony Knitting Mill.
An extraordinary large horse, from California, is being exhibited at the Star Academy. He is said to be about seven feet high, weighing about 2,000 pounds. Ten cents admission is charged.
William Evans has closed his moving picture and vaudeville theatre, on Ann Street near John, known as the Royal Theatre. With the rivalry of three such places and a 10 cents admission charge, the Royal could not produce the revenue to stay open.
H. W. Snyder, of H. P. Snyder Manufacturing Co., said that the U. S. bicycle industry was in danger from imports. Almost 600,000 bicycles were imported in 1953, about 40 times the 1949 imports.
William Alexander and Hendrick Frey, as executers of the will of John Porteus, conveyed to Alexander Ellice lots 12 and 13 of the Burnetsfield Patent. This property, on the north side of the Mohawk River, comprises most of what is now Little Falls.
The old Church Street School has been cleared of its furniture etc. and contractors will start the work of pulling down the old structure. The bricks for the new building are on the ground.
A bill has been signed in Albany, allowing the annexation of a part of the Town of Little Falls to the City of Little Falls. The annexed area contains the new city reservoir.
The old Nathaniel S. Benton property, corner of Garden and Jackson streets (current W.C.A.) was sold by Mrs. Catherine B. Gray of New York City, to Messrs. John O’Rourke and John Hurley composing the firm of O’Rourke & Hurley.
The St. Joseph’s Society No. 53, a cultural, social, and beneficial organization of the Slovenian immigrants to Little Falls from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, celebrated their 55th anniversary with a banquet at the Slovenian Home on Danube Street.
Amos P. Clark, an employee of the City of Little Falls for the past 54 years as custodian at the city hall, was found dead in the City Hall boiler room. Death was attributed to natural causes.
A large mudslide from the Rollway knocked a garage at 1 West Casler Street off of its foundation. Water overflowed its normal path, saturated an embankment causing approximately 50 feet of earth and rocks to slide over a retaining wall crushing the garage.
John Porteus passed away, and his son-in-law, William Alexander, took over management of the Ellice Estate, and replaced Porteus as Postmaster.
The Baptist church in this village, a fine stone edifice, was solemnly dedicated today. The Rev. E. Galusha delivered an appropriate discourse to the extensive congregation present.
Henry Cheney and Silas W. LeRow moved their hammer manufacturing operation from Fly Creek to the former fulling and carding mill of William Ingham in Little Falls.
Although open for four months, the Little Falls hospital, at 14 North Ann Street, became a legal entity, after two years of hard work on the part of a group of spirited women intent on improving the health of the community’s people. Two years later the facility moved to larger quarters at 610 Monroe Street.
From all indications Little Falls will witness a building boom in 1897. Robert MacKinnon will build a new five story factory for knit goods. Other new construction projects planned are at the Stacy Company on John Street, Irving Snell a factory on Albany Street, improvements at the electric works, and an addition to the Barnett tannery for the manufacture of russet leather.
According to a state study, Little Falls had one restaurant liquor license for every 218 inhabitants. Albany’s ratio was one to 422, Syracuse’s one to 462, and Buffalo’s one to 465.
Gordie Douglas, 19, signed a contract with the New York Yankees to play with the Class D Olean team. He was the first Little Falls player to sign with organized baseball since Ray Shepardson in 1924.
One of Little Falls’ oldest established industries, the Gilbert Knitting Company, has been sold. Arthur Van der Gracht, retiring president, and Mr. Maxwell Schultz made the joint announcement. Mr. Schultz and Mr. Charles Frost, both of New York City represent the new owners. Mr. Schultz will conduct the affairs of the company as president.
Three businesswomen from Canal Place, Gail Hammond, Jayne Ritz, and Linda Vincent, joined forces to create a “Community Heritage Garden” along the western boundary of Sterziner Park in Canal Place. Perennial plants were collected or donated by gardeners and organizations in the city for the project.
A Leap Year Ball was held at the Washington Hall which had been erected by S. W. Stinson in 1842.
Mr. Lookin is building a hotel adjoining the West Shore Railroad station.
The contract for erecting the Hotel Richmond was awarded to the firm of Gifford and Pierce for $75,525.
The Knights of St. Paul basketball team, representing the Methodist Episcopal Church, proved to be one of the swiftest amateur organizations in the vicinity, and finished the season undefeated.
Ben Schwartzwalder, coach of the 1959 Syracuse University national champion football team, spoke at 16th annual sports banquet of the Varsity Club held at the DeCarlo-Staffo Post.
Another railroad landmark is coming down. The metal pedestrian overpass, just east of the depot, was removed. It was used comparatively little since the pedestrian subway was opened.
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!