Help keep community history alive this Christmas

As the holidays are upon us, the Little Falls Historical Society would like you to consider giving loved ones and friends copies of the great book BEYOND OUR BICENTENNIAL as Christmas gifts.

World War II Exhibit | Little Falls Historical Society Museum | Little Falls NY

The Little Falls Historical Society Honors our Nation’s Veterans

The Little Falls Historical Museum would like to honor all US Military Veterans for Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2022.

Little Falls Canal Days Celebration

Off-site programs and activities for Canal Days of the Little Falls Historical Society Museum


The officers and directors are proud to announce that the Historical Society worked with the Little Falls Central School District to award 2022 scholarships to two members of the Class of 2022.

Little Falls Historical Society Announces New Book: Beyond Our Bicentennial

The officers, directors, and entire membership of the Little Falls Historical Society are proud to announce the publication and availability of their new book BEYOND OUR BICENTENNIAL.


The Little Falls Historical Society and the Norway Historical Society will hold a partnered Patriots Day observance program beginning at 11:00 AM on Saturday May 14 in Norway Rural Cemetery, also known as Four Wars Cemetery. 

This cemetery has a storied past and is located near the intersection of Military Road and the Newport-Gray Road in the Town of Norway.

The Little Falls Historical Society’s annual Patriots Day programs pay tribute to our ancestors’ role in the Revolutionary War. Past programs have been held at Yellow Church Cemetery, the Herkimer Home historic site, Fort Herkimer Church, Indian Castle Church, Snells Bush Church, Historic Four Corners in Herkimer, the former Masonic Temple in Little Falls, Historic Trinity in Fairfield, Paines Hollow Methodist Church, and in 2019, in Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Little Falls. There were no Patriots Day programs in 2020 or 2021 due to Covid health concerns.

Each year’s program consists of a number of short addresses by various local historians on area history topics, the placement of a Daughters of the American Revolution cemetery wreath, and the playing of “Taps” by Dr. Oscar Stivala. This year’s program will also include an honor guard rifle salute and a short prayer. Programs last about one hour.

The program is free and open to the public. The rain date for this event is Sunday May 15 at 11:00 AM.

Please be advised that Norway Rural Cemetery is somewhat hilly and has no paved roadways. There are no bathroom facilities. Attendees may want to bring their own chairs.

Helen Dunteman


Helen Dunteman

The officers and directors of the Little Falls Historical Society are proud to announce that their 2022 writing series will be dedicated to former Little Falls social studies teacher Helen Dunteman.

In 2020, this writing series was dedicated to former Little Falls high school English teacher Harold Templeman and the 2021 writing series was dedicated to former Little Falls high school social studies teacher Hector Allen.

The Little Falls high school graduating class of 1958 dedicated their yearbook to Helen Dunteman by noting that she had taught for forty years during which time she was both a teacher and friend to many Little Falls students. Helen passed away in 1984, but she is still remembered by several Historical Society members as an outstanding teacher who helped shape their lives in a positive manner.

The first 2022 writing series article will appear in the news on our website and in on Tuesday April 26.

Industrialization in Little Falls, New York, 1790-1960

The Little Falls Historical Society much appreciates the opportunity to work with the SUNY Oneonta’s Cooperstown Graduate Program of Museum Studies. Some background history about Little Falls will add perspective.

The City of Little Falls is a community of around 4700 residents situated in southern Herkimer County astride both the Mohawk River and the Erie Canal. Little Falls’ development and rich industrial history were impacted by geology and topography, particularly its waterside proximity.

The first inhabitants of the immediate area around Little Falls were members of the Iroquois Confederacy, primarily the Mohawks, one of the five tribes making up the Confederacy. The Mohawks were the keepers of the Eastern Gate of Iroquois territory. They called the area “Astenrogan” or “tumbling waters.”

The region’s first European visitors in the early 1600’s were Dutch and French traders and French Jesuit priests all in pursuit of favorable relations with Native Americans. The French first referred to the area as “little falls” to distinguish it from the “big falls” at Cohoes. In 1664, England seized New York from the Dutch

England used Palatine Germans in their upper Hudson Valley naval stores project; the Palatines eventually migrated into the central Mohawk Valley in the early 1700’s. Divided loyalties, largely based on ethnicity, characterized the entire region during the Revolutionary War.

The six lock Western Inland Lock Navigation Canal began operation in 1794 in order to make easier waterway passage around the Little Falls rapids. Little Falls was incorporated as a village in 1811. The Erie Canal was completed in 1825 and Little Falls began to thrive as the industrial hub of the central Mohawk Valley. Little Falls was later chartered as a city in 1895.

In 1833, the present Old Bank Museum, made of native rock and cut limestone, began operation as the first bank in Herkimer County. The building was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places in 1970 and it is the present home of the Little Falls Historical Society.

Fast forward to 2018 when Dr. Erik Stengler resided in Little Falls with his family for a short period before taking up residence in Cooperstown. During his stay in Little Falls, Dr. Stengler became enamored with the community’s history. He was the first to conceptualize of Little Falls history as a potential area of study for his museum studies students. In 2019, Dr. Stengler reached out to the Historical Society to serve as an educational partner for his students.

The board of directors and officers of the Historical Society responded most favorably to this overture and this collaborative partnership was born and the byproduct of this collaboration is this book. Please enjoy this wonderful piece of work that has been generated by this fine group of students.

Jeff Gressler

Tour Guide, Organizer and Historical Society Member, Gary Staffo, has requested that the Little Falls Historical Society share the Southside Walking Tour VIII – 1st FALL Tour!

Growing Up on the Southside 1957 – 1970

(By popular demand SATURDAY November 06, 2021 for the 1st FALL TOUR!)

WHEN: Saturday November 06, 2021 

Sign In begins at 8AM  (Registration, Questions, Safety Briefing), and the Tour STARTS at 9AM.

Allow 2 to 3 hours, but participants can leave at any time (Please inform Tour Guide when leaving). 

PANDEMIC CONCERNS – This tour is outdoors with social distancing. We will adhere to all NYS and CDC guidelines in effect at the time of the event. 

Other personal protective measures such as masks are optional based on your personal comfort. 

Your Tour Guide has received the three Covid-19 Vaccination doses.

WHEREMeet at the Rotary Park Terminal Building on Southern Ave by NLT 8:30 am. We will start on time. Parking and rest rooms are available at the Terminal. NO REST ROOMS ALONG THE TOUR!

Special Needs:  The walk includes unpaved dirt paths, uneven surfaces, outdoors, etc.

Moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Pets:  Please do not bring your pets, as we may encounter other “pets” that are not under owner command or on a leash.

REGISTRATION: Advance registration is requested and appreciated. Please register by phone or email.

If you have questions or concerns, contact Gary.  Southside Territory Details list available upon request.

Gary T. Staffo

Phone: 703-336-7241


(NOTE:  This is an independent event and is not an official program of the Little Falls Historical Society.)

Helen Dunteman


Helen Dunteman was a highly respected social studies teacher in the Little Falls school district for many years, retiring in 1962. Helen was both a lifelong Little Falls resident and a graduate of Oneonta State Normal School. She passed away in 1984.