FROM THE COONEY ARCHIVES: THIS DAY IN HISTORY … On February 14, 1937, the Old Bakery Oven found as Bellinger Block is razed on North Ann Street. Chief Cooney’s scrapbooks indicate it was in use 70 years ago, when A E Bellinger operated a bakery here.

From the Cooney Archives: Article found in a newspaper dated the 14th of February of 1937

“In razing the old Bellinger Block on North Ann Street, the wrecking crew was surprised to uncover an oven that was obviously used in a bakery many years ago. It was so long ago that the bakery had been forgotten and when the oven was found it caused considerable speculation. Fire Chief Cooney, whose voluminous scrapbooks give him ready access to the past, thumbed through his records in quest of a clue that would reveal the time when the oven was an instrument of usefulness, and from it came cakes and pies that wafted tantalizing odors thro the neighborhood.”

Sure enough, Chief Cooney found the clue he was seeking. It was in the form of a newspaper of 1867, calling attention to the delectable products of the bakery of A. E. Bellinger, who styled himself “manufacturer of crackers, cakes, bread, and confectionery and dealer in cigars and candy.” He also made it known that he was in a position to provide “party and Wedding cake, neatly ornamented to order.”

If the old oven were still doing duty and Mr Bellinger and his aides were still presiding over it, they would undoubtedly find 1937 a boom year, especially for the manufacturer of wedding cakes, as Cupid is doing a land office business in Little Falls this year. The city’s newfound prosperity, after a long period of depression, has evidently encouraged many young couples to take the leap into the sea of matrimony.”


Abram Eyseman Bellinger, son of John Cambell and Mary Feeter Bellinger, was born on Feb. 11, 1831. He was the grandson of Colonel William Feeter, known for establishing the first postal service enterprise at Little Falls, and Colonel Peter Bellinger. His uncle, General Christopher Bellinger, known for his heroism in the War of 1812, owned the south side of the Mohawk River at Little Falls in the 1820s when the area was just forming as a village. He also is a descendant of Johan Jost Herkimer (father of General Herkimer) who owned the 1720s portage on the south side of the Mohawk River and Johan Jost Petrie (of the Petrie grist mill massacre of 1782), who owned the portage route on the north side of the Mohawk River, both being the founding fathers of Little Falls.

Abram E. married Maria Elizabeth Bellinger, the daughter of Henry H. and Gertrude Casler Bellinger of the old Bellinger Homestead on Fall Hill, on 29th of June 29th in 1854. In 1856, they had a daughter, Gertrude, who passed away at the young age of six. Their son, Abram Henry was born on the 13th of March in 1862.

Abram E. left his schooling at the Little Falls Academy in 1844.

By 1847, he was operating a bakery and merchants shop selling cigars on the corner lot of Church and North Ann Street, being the present-day Sunoco Gas Station, 4 North Church Street. He purchased this lot on the 20th of September of 1856, from William and Cordelia Sophia Eyesman, for $700. He used the ovens at the back of his shop for the baking of his cakes and confections.

On the 31st of March of 1866, he bought a lot on the lower, north side of Church Street from Mary A. Lee for $2,102.87 and proceeded to build a family home, becoming 18 Church St.

He retired in 1875, when he then opened an office at 2 Cronkhite Block, serving as a Town Clerk for three terms and as a real estate broker. He was a Democrat, a member of the Elks Lodge # 42, and attended the First Presbyterian Church at Little Falls. He was the Justice of the Peace from 1891 through 1896. He died on the 8th of April in 1911 and is buried in the Church Street Cemetery.

Abram H. was a graduate of Little Falls High School and Hungerford Collegiate Institute in Adams, New York. Abram H. went on to study law at the offices of Mills, Palmer, and Mo Hungerford. He married Jennie Roof, the daughter of Captain Romaine Roof, on the 9th of January in 1883. They had a daughter, Gertrude Isabelle on the 13th of November in 1883. Abram H. was admitted to the Bar in 1885, joining his father at the Cronkhite Block office. Abram E. went on to serve as Justice of the Peace from 1891 through 1896.

Abram E. passed away on the 11th of April in 1936 and is buried in the Church Street Cemetery.


18 Church Street became the first home of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No.4612 which bears the name of Staff Sgt. Steve Stefula. The post contained a memorial to Stefula, located in the entryway, that was lit day and night in his memory. He gave up his life for the freedom that we enjoy today.

The VFW organization was formed in 1889, because returning soldiers lacked medical care and Veterans Pensions, being left to take care of themselves, so they banded together forming the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. The VFW at Little Falls was issued a Charter by the National VFW in August of 1945, by Little Falls Veterans returning from WWII. Their first home for the organization was the home of Gertrude Bellinger, the daughter of Abram H. Bellinger, and also the granddaughter of Abram E. Bellinger, on the 12th of December 1946. Gertrude’s first husband was Glen U. Van Cleff, whom she married on the 12th of January in 1909. Her second husband was Ralph H. Bellinger, whom she married on the 23rd of November in 1912

A memorable event for the V.F.W. was a mortgage-burning party that was held on May 26, 1956. In just 10 short years, these active members had their organization’s home paid for.

Each year, V.F.W Post 4612 has honored a distinguished citizen of the city for activities benefiting the community as a whole.

Tragedy struck the Post No.4612 on December 26, 1958, when a fire destroyed a large portion of the building. Undaunted by this setback, the membership held immediate meetings and within a matter of weeks formulated plans for the 1960 building, which was designed by Leo Proctor and built by Edwin Ford.


According to Find A Grave…” Sergeant Stefula served with the 401st Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group (Heavy), 8th Air Force, operating from Bassingbourn, England during World War II. He was the Tail Gunner, shot down December 20, 1942, aboard B-17F Flying Fortress #41-24452 over Amiens, France, by an enemy ME109 fighter, while on a mission to strike a German air depot at Romilly, France. He died of wounds on January 17, 1943, while in enemy captivity, in a hospital in Paris. His resting place is at Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial, located at Dinozé, France.”

*Digitizing of Historical Photos by Gail & Mike Potter, FROM THE COONEY ARCHIVES: THIS DAY IN HISTORY by Louis Baum, JR, and article written by Darlene Smith

Be sure to visit the Little Falls Historical Society Museum’s Little Falls Waterways virtual exhibit.

The Little Falls Historical Society’s Old Bank Building Museum is open by appointment only for the winter season. For a FREE tour of the museum, please contact either Louis Baum @ 315-823-3527, Mary Ann Terzi @ 315-823-1502, or Jeffery Gressler @ 315-823-2799 to schedule an appointment.