View the 2021 Little Falls Historical Society Annual report Including elections, membership, sponsors, online activities, writing series, and more.
The Historical Society had a very successful year in 2022. The Society’s membership base and finances are solid, our virtual community footprint continues to expand, and we continue creative collaboration with other organizations.
The Society’s central mission of preserving community history endures, as does our commitment to preservation of the Old Bank Building Museum. Present Historical Society members remain thankful to those visionary preservationists who fought against the urban renewal wrecking ball in the 1960s-1970s to protect our 1833 building and establish our organization.
The Historical Society is fortunate to have a strong and growing membership base supportive of our programs and overall impact on the greater Little Falls community. We now have 253 memberships from 37 different states and Germany, Canada, and New Zealand. We have 60 Regular, 59 Family, 45 Sustaining, 86 Patron, and 3 Memorial memberships. Our total membership base is around 500 individuals when considering family members.
Welcome to our new members and thank you to our entire membership.
We are also pleased to report that our Corporate and Business memberships increased in 2022 from 30 to 32. We are much appreciative of this support from the Little Falls business community and urge our membership to support these businesses.
In spring 2022, the Historical Society published our second volume of writing series articles entitled BEYOND OUR BICENTENNIAL at a cost of nearly $10,000. This was the single largest expenditure made by the Society in memory, it accounted for over one-third of our total expenditures for 2022. In addition, many of our “fixed” expenses (utilities and website maintenance) rose and for the first time, we provided $1000 for scholarships for two worthy Little Falls High School graduating seniors. In total, expenses for 2022 ($27,500) were nearly double those of 2021.
On the plus side, due to the generosity of our membership, these expenses were offset through donations, dues, and book sales ($24,600). Total income for 2022 was $27,600. At the bottom line, the Little Falls Historical Society remains on very strong financial ground and will continue to serve our community’s interests in 2023.
RESEARCH COMMITTEE WORK
Our research committee continues to tackle the growing number of research requests that we receive on a wide variety of topics. Kudos to this committee for its quiet ongoing efforts to provide members and others with important information related to genealogy research, article writing, general information for driving and walking tours, and other projects. Dozens of such requests were serviced in 2022. This research group includes Louis Baum, Anita Dulak. David Krutz, Gail Potter, Mike and Missy Smith, Pat Stock, and Maryanne Terzi.
DRIVING AND WALKING TOUR OF SIGNIFICANT HOMES
Our walking and driving tour of “Historic Homes and Places in Little Falls” was unveiled during 2022 Canal Days Celebration. Part of a multi-year project, this first part of the tour features 33 homes and historic sites around and nearby Burke (Western) Park. Photos and brief histories each home are included. This tour can be accessed through our website.
CONTINUED SPONSORSHIP OF VINTAGE BASEBALL TEAM
Modern day vintage baseball teams play by rules and customs from an earlier period in the sport’s history, typically using rules and uniforms from the late 19th century.
The Little Falls Alerts saw a second season of action at several different locations in 2022. Games were played by the Alerts in Delhi, Fleismanns, and Little Falls, seven games in total. In these seven games, 15 Alert players took the field in 2022 and the locals were competitive in each contest. The Alerts are co-sponsored by the Little Falls Family Youth and Family Center and the Historical Society.
Thanks to Society member Andy Krutz for being the organizing and guiding force for the Alerts.
Society member David Krutz will make a presentation on early baseball in Little Falls and the 1886 Little Falls professional baseball team to the prestigious Society of American Baseball Research at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on February 4, 2023.
NOTE: The Alerts need more vintage baseball players, men and women alike. Anyone interested in playing vintage baseball for the Alerts should contact us through our website.
Recent years have witnessed a much-expanded virtual Historical Society presence. Ginny Rogers created and continues to manage the Society’s state-of-the-art website which now includes 86 posts, 33 pages, and 29 exhibits. Our website had over 31,000 viewers in 2022 and close to 300,000 individual pages were viewed.
Missy Smith took over the Society’s Facebook account several years ago and her work is most impressive. Her creative postings emerge from the THIS DAY IN HISTORY column and NEWS topics from our website. Expanded research provides more material and then a photo or two are chosen from the over 3000 historic photos that Mike and Gail Potter digitized from our glass slide collection. What emerges is focused historical perspective on past community history on any given day, plus matched photographs. Our Facebook page had over 42,000 viewers in 2022.
PALATINE GERMANS IN SEARCH OF A LAND TO CALL HOME
In early October, Ginny Rogers made a video presentation on the above topic at the Little Falls Public Library. The event was co-orchestrated by the Palatines to America German Genealogy Society and our local library.
Expanding on her article published in BEYOND OUR BICENTENNIAL, inspired by the work of David L. Preston, Ginny’s presentation explored the conditions in Europe that led Palatine German migration to the Mohawk Valley in the early 1700s and how these early settlers survived. Her presentation was widely praised.
2022 PATRIOTS DAY AT NORWAY RURAL CEMETERY
Due to COVID, there were no Patriots Day observances in either 2020 or 2021. We partnered with the Norway Historical Society for a well-attended May 14, 2022 observance at this wonderful historical site. The weather was perfect, the program included addresses on Norway – a personal history, Four Wars Cemetery and the History Center, the Battle of West Canada Creek, the Civil War Bible of Cassius Delevan, the Military Road and the War of 1812, the Battles of Oriskany, Saratoga and Yorktown, the Preamble and Our Nation’s Goals, and a Tribute to Janet Burt, former president of the Norway Historical Society.
The 2023 Patriots Day event will likely take place at Yellow Church Cemetery outside Little Falls.
COLLABORATION WITH SUNY ONEONTA COOPERSTOWN MUSEUM STUDIES STUDENTS
The Historical Society’s 2022 third year of hosting Cooperstown graduate students in Little Falls and at the museum resulted in the posting of five additional stops on their driving tour of key Little Falls historic sites – Feldmeier’s (Cherry Burrell), Western Inland Navigation Lock Canal, Little Falls Public Library, Fairview Cemetery, and Yellow Church Cemetery. These five additions were added to the year two (2021) driving tour which can be accessed through our website.
Our year one collaboration (2020) produced an on-line book entitled “Industrialization in Little Falls ,1790-1960: A Cabinet of Curiosities” which is also accessible on our website.
Plans are in place for a fourth year of collaboration with Dr. Erik Stengler and his Museum Studies students.
Cooperstown students who we have worked with over the past three years are now employed by museums large and small from Minnesota to Missouri to Virginia to New York and Maine.
2023 SUNY GENESEO INTERN
The Historical Society has partnered with City Historian Pat Stock to apply for an intern in the summer of 2023 through a program established by the Gardiner Semiquincentennial Student Foundation Summer Fellowship Program focused on projects related to the American Revolution and its legacy as the 250th anniversary of American independence approaches. Our Old Bank Museum would serve as the base of operations for this intern should Little Falls be approved for such a placement.
2022 WRITING SERIES DEDICATED TO HELEN DUNTEMAN
First begun in 2010, our annual writing series resulted in the publication of an additional 16 articles in 2022. This year’s writing series was dedicated to former Little Falls teacher Helen Dunteman who positively impacted many students during her long career teaching social studies. Previous writing series were dedicated to Harold Templeman and Hector Allen. Our editorial staff is always open to new topics and authors.
- THE LIGHTER SIDE OF VIETNAM by Schuyler Van Horn
- PATRIOTS DAY AT NORWAY RURAL CEMETERY by Jeffrey Gressler
- GROWING UP ON THE SOUTHSIDE IN THE 1970s by Gary Staffo
- LITTLE FALLS POOLHALLS – REFLECTIONS ON A BYGONE ERA by Michael Walo and Jeff Gressler
- SPORTS CITY USA by Ray Lenarcic
- HAPPY 70TH ANNIVERSARY TO LITTLE FALLS LITTLE LEAGUE by John Frazier
- QUIRKS OF FATE by Ray Lenarcic
- REFLECTIONS ON THE 245TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF ORISKANY by Jeffrey Gressler
- LITTLE FALLS SOUTHSIDE IN THE 1970s by Dave Talaba
- THE MILITARY ROAD AND THE WAR OF 1812 by Pat Stock
- ON TURNING 80 by Ray Lenarcic
- MORGAN’S DAIRY by Bart Carrig
- THOSE WERE THE DAYS by John Frazier
- BROOMSTICKS AND BALLOTS by Ray Lenarcic
- 1882: THE YEAR OF PESTILENCE, DEATH AND SOLUTIONS IN LITTLE FALLS by David Krutz
- BYGONE LITTLE FALLS WINTERS OF SKIING AND SLEDDING by Jeffrey Gressler
Thank you to these authors for their efforts. Our 2023 writing series will be dedicated to former City Historian and founding Society member Edward J. Cooney.
BEYOND OUR BICENTENNIAL
After months of concerted effort, this 250-page book of 77 articles written by 39 different authors finally went to press and became available for sale in spring 2022. This book joins our earlier 54 article book TOWARDS OUR BICENTENNIAL to chronicle much of Little Falls’ rich and colorful history. Articles in our new book are arranged in categories that include military, events: local and national, people, places, music, the 1940 Gulf Curve Train Wreck, waterways, athletics, and buildings. BEYOND OUR BICENTENNIAL has been very well received by our membership and others.
Copies of BEYOND OUR BICENTENNIAL can be purchased for $35 ($5 postage) by contacting us through our website.
Thank you to the Community Co-op, Pohlig’s Enterprises, the Little Falls Public Library, and Fun Tech Providers for being book sales outlets for BEYOND OUR BICENTENNIAL.
For the past two years, the Historical Society has submitted monthly vintage news articles from our Cooney Files to Dave Warner’s Mohawk Valley Express.
TWO SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED
In 2022, the Historical Society proudly awarded two $500 scholarships to graduating Little Falls students. One scholarship was awarded to Madison Brand who will major in history or a related field in college and our Charles P. Colby scholarship went to McKenzie Eells for overcoming challenges to achieve academic success. This second scholarship was made possible through the generous support of an anonymous donor / Society member.
We have established a separate financial account for scholarship funds, additional donations to this account for future scholarships are welcomed.
SIGNAGE AND HISTORIC MARKERS
City Historian and Society board member Pat Stock spearheaded local efforts to secure funding for a red, white, and blue historic marker through the Pomeroy Foundation. This beautiful marker commemorates the visit of Marquis de Lafayette to Little Falls in 1825 and can be viewed on the left just past the South Ann Street bridge at Canal Place.
The Historical Society also secured funding though the Pomeroy Foundation for a historic marker denoting the location of the guard gate for the 1795 Western Inland Navigation Lock Canal near the old Salada / Redco bridge. Society members are partnering with the City of Little Falls and the Rotary Club to restore all the signage at this historic site.
The Historical Society also partnered in 2022 with an anonymous donor to secure funding for two beautiful signs on South Ann Street through the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties. One of these signs commemorates the philanthropic contributions of the Burrell family and the other sign uses old postcard images to capture various aspects of Little Falls history. Thanks to Bob Critser at CAD Designs in Herkimer for his great work on this signage project.
RESTORATION OF ARTIFACTS
At the end of an estate sale in Little Falls in June 2021, the Historical Society was given an important late-19th century chromatic lithograph looking west towards Little Falls from the Moss Island area. We were able to get this lithograph restored at considerable expense through a Ballston Spa professional restoration specialist. A second artifact from this same sale is a large wide angle black and white photograph of the old Finks Basin bridge and Mohawk River. This artifact was re-matted professionally by local artist extraordinaire Bob Willman.
Sadly, loyal longtime Historical Society members Hector Allen, Katie Lyon (past president 1999-2007), Robert Mucica, and Vincent Ivi passed away in 2022. Mucica and his family funded the restoration of the 1888 frog fountain located behind the museum.
Respectfully submitted to our membership by the officers and board of directors of the Little Falls Historical Society. Thank you.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Louis Baum – immediate past president
Jeffrey Gressler – president
Scott Kinville – vice-president
Anita Dulak– secretary
David Krutz – treasurer
Louis Baum and Pat Frezza-Gressler
“Those of us who feel a sense of duty must carry forward the torch of history so that we can all plan for a better future.”
~ Anonymous ~
Previous Annual Reports
Top left: New Historic Marker.
Top right: Closeup of Historical Society Image on Historic Marker.
Middle right; Hansen’s Renett Sign on Loan from David Cassulo and Neil Rosenbaum.
Bottom left: Louis Baum Researching for “This Day in History”.
Bottom right: Old Bank Museum Historical Register Sign.
Top left: “Artist with Mask” Dr. Oscar Stivala*.
Top right: New Museum Sign in Front Museum Window.
Left middle: “Respect” painting by Joanne Morotti*.
Bottom row: July Board of Directors Meeting at Moreland Park.
*COVID-related art on display in museum front windows.
Top row: SUNY Oneonta Cooperstown Graduate Students with Historical Society Volunteers.
Middle row: Society Member Dick Gloo (Dick’s Wheel Shop)with Restored 1897 H.P. Snyder Bicycle, Closeup of 1897 Bicycle Insignia, October Board of Directors Meeting at WCA.
Bottom row: Dr. Erik Stengler with SUNY Oneonta Cooperstown Students at Route 167 Overlook.