The Old Bakery Oven
“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.”
February 14, 1937, Cooney Archives
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 through 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. SOURCE: Cooney Archives | Book 7 Page 29
A. E. BELLINGER AND FAMILY
Abram Eysaman, son of John Cambell and Mary Feeter Bellinger, was born Feb. 11, 1831. He was the grandson of Colonel William Feeter and Colonel Peter Bellinger. His uncle, General Christopher Bellinger, owned the south side of the Mohawk River at Little Falls in the 1820s, when the area was just forming as a village. He was also a descendant of Johan Jost Herkimer and Johan Jost Petrie, the founding fathers of Little Falls.
Abram married the daughter of Henry H. and Gertrude Bellinger, Maria, in 1854. They had a daughter, Gertrude, in 1856, who passed at the young age of six. Their son, Abram H. was born in 1862.
Abram Eysaman was a merchant and bought the corner lot at Church and North Ann Street on the 20th of September of 1856, from William & Cordelia Sophia Eyasmen, for $700. By 1847, he was operating a bakery and confectionery on this lot. 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 13 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.
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 office of Mills, Palmer, and Morgan. He was admitted to the Bar in 1885 and joined his father at the 2 Cronkhite Block office, as an attorney.
Abram E. went on to serve as Justice of the Peace from 1891through 1896. Abram Eysamen Bellinger passed away on the 8th of April 1911.
VETERANS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS POST NO. 4612
13 Church Street became the first home of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No.4612 that 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 of the Spanish -American War lacked medical care and Veterans pensions, so they banded together and formed an organization to secure their rights and benefits for their service. The VFW at Little Falls was formed by the returning Veterans of WWII and were issued a Charter by the National VFW in August of 1945. They purchased this lot from Gertrude Bellinger, daughter of Abram H. Bellinger and wife of Ralph Bellinger, on the 12th of December 1946. A memorable event for the VFW was a mortgage burning party that was held on May 26, 1956. In just 10 years the active membership had their home paid for. Each year the Post 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.
STAFF SERGEANT STEVE STEFULA
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 enemy ME109 fighter, while on mission to strike German air depot at Romilly, France. He died of wounds 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.”
*From The Cooney Archive’s: This Day In History by Louis Baum, Jr. Digitizing of historical photos by Gail & Mike Potter. Article written by Darlene Smith.