This Week in History – Week of May 31st
From the journal of Rev. James Joyce of the local Concord Society – “Mrs. John Alexander accused Mrs. William Alexander of riding with three men to Herkimer. I was first agitated on hearing this, but I believe there was more impurity in the reproof than in the action.”
“Billy”, the oldest horse in the state, observed his 41st birthday at the Peter A. Staring farm in Little Falls. Mr. Staring, who died last fall, kept a livery stable in the village for many years.
The new city hall, begun in 1916, was formally opened to the public on Decoration Day with 4,000 people visiting the institution. A feature is the stained glass window, the gift of Mayor Zoller, reproducing Profile Rock. David H. Burrell contributed $60,000 toward construction costs.
The new St. Mary’s cemetery, off Small’s Bush Road in East Herkimer, was formally dedicated by Bishop Edmund G. Gibbons of Albany. The lawn cemetery will now be used as a replacement for the old Catholic cemetery on Sherman Street in Little Falls.
A two megawatt, 8,000 panel, AC solar system will be built near the Little Falls Municipal Golf Course and the Casullo housing development. Payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, over a 15 year period, will be divided among the City of Little Falls, Herkimer County, and the Little Falls City School District.
The employees at the Herkimer County National Bank are being granted vacations. Two weeks are being allotted to the cashier and one week to the clerks.
The first person to have a telephone in Little Falls was Frank Bramer who resided in our current library building. He had a private telephone connecting with his office in the Warrior Mower plant.
D. H. Burrell & Company of Little Falls made three shipments of cheese making apparatus to New Zealand. Over the past two years New Zealand and Australia have become formidable competitors in butter and cheese markets in Europe.
With business growing and demanding increased space, the National Herkimer County Bank started looking for a site for a new bank building. In April 1913, they selected property at the corner of Main and Ann streets, and in March 1914, made arrangements for D.H. Burrell to build a spacious office building including elegant facilities for the bank on the site.
The first air mail flight passed over Little Falls. Beacon lights and emergency landing lights had been installed at Seymour Field.
Airplanes flying over Little Falls communicated with WGY, the General Electric radio station in Schenectady, which rebroadcast through regular channels, the fliers describing the scenery above the city. Communications between ground stations and planes in mid-air using short wave radio is still considered in the experimental stage.
Stella Lesksha suspended operation of the Little Falls & Dolgeville bus line. She had purchased the line from Roy Woolever after World War Two.
Mrs. Catherine Van Allen lifted the first shovel as her son and associate, William, and city officials looked on during groundbreaking ceremonies for the new 80 bed Van Allen Nursing Home on upper East Monroe Street.
Mickey Kasner, veteran Little Falls teacher and coach, was inducted into the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame. From 1955 to 1993 she elevated girls’ interscholastic sports here, coaching seven different sports programs. She was the first female president of the NYSPHSAA.
About 50 boats pass by Little Falls each day, and a number of rafts from the west. The grand staple from the west is flour, while passengers and merchandise from the east. The canal bank is the principal promenade for the people to see the elegant packet boats.
In Little Falls there were only two streets, but there were two mills and two blacksmith shops. Ann Street north of Garden Street was a pasture. All that part of the village east of Second Street and south of Main Street, was a drear wilderness thickly covered with white cedar undergrowth. Although the Erie Canal opened in 1825, the policies of the alien Mr. Alexander Ellice kept the village nearly stationary till 1831.
Around this date, Chr. Hansen’s Laboratories of Copenhagen, Denmark, the world’s premier manufacturer of rennet used in the production of cheese, along with coloring for cheese and butter, established a factory in Little Falls under the management of Mr. J. D. Frederiksen.
The H. P. Snyder Company is “cranking out” Hopalong Cassidy bicycles to fill the demand of youngsters across the nation. Cowboy star William Boyd, who plays Cassidy on TV and in the movies, is known as The King of the Cowboy Merchandisers. The bicycle sells for $67 when an average boy’s bike sells for $17. (Note: in mint condition they now sell for nearly $3,000.)
WW II Era – Overtures are being made to city officials by Consolidated Airlines for Little Falls to be a stop on the proposed route of the airline after the war. The Kansas City company has asked for considerable demographic information concerning the city.
Brett Wehrum and Florian Andreas (an exchange student from Germany,) students at LFHS, won the New York State All Class tennis doubles championship at the U. S. National Tennis Center in Flushing, Long Island, New York. David Talaba was their coach.
With great fanfare, the 1961 sesquicentennial time capsule was unearthed near the Civil War monument in Eastern Park. People came from all over the country to retrieve letters written 50 years earlier by their ancestors. Water had seeped into the capsule through defective weld lines and all the paper contents had turned to “mush.” Coins and other metal objects survived.
Although it was built in 1796, the Octagon Church was not completed until 1818. During this 22 year period, the church relied on circuit riders and itinerant clergymen. The first resident pastor, Mr. Hezekiah N. Woodruff today delivered his first sermon – “Go up to the mountain and bring Wook and the House and I shall take pleasure in it.” Rev. Woodruff would be shared with worshippers in Herkimer.
A movement to secure entertainments of the better class has resulted in an organization that really means business. Hon. George A. Hardin is president of the Little Falls Entertainment Association, which has in its membership many of the prominent members of the community, that will strive to bring high-class revelry to Little Falls.
Eight or ten men are at work on Western Park filling in the discarded reservoir. The grounds will be returned to their natural slope. Unfortunately, the project will require the removal of five large maple trees.
One of the twin bridges between Hansen Island and Southern Avenue was lifted off its foundation and deposited on a barge. The second “twin” is owned by the city and was left standing. It was also eventually removed.
During the French & Indian War, General Prideau camped at the little falls on his way to Fort Niagara. His forces consisted of 2,680 Provincial troops, 2,300 British regulars, and 600 Indians.
Increased travel on the Mohawk River and the new Erie Canal marked the appearance of floating museums, floating book stores, floating lottery offices, and floating dry goods stores.
The locality most favored by the “thirsty” in Little Falls is South Ann Street between the tracks and the river, where in the immediate neighborhood are fifteen saloons.
One- hundred families of the National Catholic Polish Church, under the name of “Holy Spirit” parish, gathered for worship at the African Methodist-Episcopal Church on West Main Street. The local congregation was formerly affiliated with the Polish Roman Catholic Church on Furnace Street.
A $21 million hydropower plant developed by the Little Falls Hydroelectric Associates on the Erie Canal and Mohawk River is nearing completion, and is expected to be in operation in the fall.
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!