LF Historical Society Writing Series dedication to Hector Allen
View of the Mohawk Valley looking south towards Little Falls, NY.

Palatine Germans in Search of a Land to Call Home by Ginny Rogers

January 17, 2022 marks the 300th anniversary of the Burnetsfield Patent.  The earliest European settlers in the Mohawk Valley came from what is now southwest Germany. Under near constant threat of destruction, whether from multiple wars, invasions, or the plague, in the near hundred years leading up to the 18th century, the southwest German population experienced extreme hardship.

Growing up on the South Side from the early 1950’s through the late 1960’s By Donald F. Staffo

In the 1950s and 1960s, Little Falls was a bustling blue-collar mill town of about 9,000 people with many hard-working citizens employed in its numerous factories. Most of the factories were on Mill Street which ran parallel to the railroad tracks on the southern side with a few factories on the other side of the tracks. My parents, and most of the parents of my friends, worked in the mills. None wore a tie to work.

A Pizza Story by James Papaleo

If you lived in Little Falls in the late-1950s through early-1980s I bet you ate at least one slice of Papaleo’s pizza or one of the delicious hoagies (subs) that came out of the family restaurant owned by my parents Anthony (Tony) and Grayce Papaleo. Even today, 40 years after the restaurant closed, people still tell me and my sisters how our Dad’s pizza and hoagies were the best they have ever eaten. I might be biased, but I agree because I have never found another pizza or hoagie like Dad’s.

South Side Cigar Stores by Gary Staffo

This article came about as part of the research started for the Southside Veteran’s Recognition Project, which was displayed during the September 2013 Southside Reunion.  It covers the period from the 1930s through the mid-1970s and the role three Southside cigar stores played in the lives of the young men who grew up hanging out around them.
Moose Club Basketball Team

Every Legend Has a Beginning The Hubie Brown Story by David Dinneen

Older people in Little Falls, especially those sports fanatics, know who Hubie Brown is. However, the name may not be familiar with the younger folks. Hubie rose from the ranks of coaching basketball at St. Mary’s Academy in Little Falls to the apex of his profession, enshrinement in the National Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dairy Farmers Dumping Milk During The Great Depression

Dairy Farming In Herkimer County: The More Things Change… by De Wayne W. Perry

Dairy farming has been integral to life in Herkimer County since the first European settlers—the Palatine Germans—arrived in the Mohawk Valley in the early-1700s, and some of their descendants still operate dairies around Little Falls and elsewhere throughout the county.
The Magnificent Mile at Little Falls - Photography by Dave Warner, MyLittleFalls.comPhotography by Dave Warner, MyLittleFalls.com

The Magnificent Mile at Little Falls by Louis W. Baum, Jr.

When it comes right down to it, Little Falls is all about water. The earliest explorers in America found it easiest to move along the waterways and rivers as did the Native Americans living here. In the 1600s and 1700s the British colonies extended inward from the Atlantic Ocean to the Appalachian Mountains.
Late 19th century map of Moreland (Park).

Burwell Street Namesake and Moreland Park Visionary
by Jeffrey Gressler

Since 1911, Moreland Park has played an important role in community life for generations of Little Falls residents. Family picnics, group outings, community events and celebrations, wedding receptions, birthday and graduation parties, family and class reunions, and kids squealing with delight on the playground equipment are all common occurrences on the park’s bucolic grounds. We all have our own Moreland Park memories.

He Still Sustains: Pitt the Painter’s Studio Loft
by Laura Laubenthal

From 2011 to 2013, I wrote my master’s degree thesis for the Cooperstown Graduate Program about “Pitt the Painter” and his role in showcasing the identity of Little Falls by means of his artwork. The project was largely based on oral histories told by those in town who remembered him since his death on September 4, 2007. While I spoke with several people, there were so many more I did not reach, as Pitt’s sphere of influence seemed immeasurable. The project went on, and it was apparent that these stories meshed together as modern-day folklore about talent, humor, addiction, and belonging.
Jan Holick taken at Caroga Lake Photo Booth.

“Surviving Childhood in Little Falls” by Cynthia Holick Foley

When asked if I had any siblings, I often quipped, “My brother and I were only children.” While my first decade was spent in the peaceful and prosperous 1950s, his was spent just prior and during World War II. Recently my big brother, Jan Holick Sr., (born 1935, and graduated from Little Falls High School 1953,) sat down with me, (born 1951, and graduated 1969,) and shared his memories of a time I never knew except in history books. He was kind enough to open a window to his past, and this article invites you to share that view.

Long Ago From a Far Away Land by Jessie Snyder Thompson Huberty

In February of 1935, while snow fell heavily over Herkimer County in upstate New York, a cable arrived at the home of The Honorable Homer P. Snyder on Ann Street in Little Falls. It announced the birth of H.P.’s first great grandchild. It read: “Mother and child doing fine. Father barely survived!” Thus, I arrived amidst tropical breezes in the city of Manila, on the island of Luzon, in the Philippines, set between the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Manila: 8324 miles away from the city on the Mohawk River.

John Frazier – Prisoner of War, Hero by John Frazier, Jr.

Personal and societal beliefs and principles certainly change with time. Sometimes people are shocked or amazed to hear stories of people or events from the past, yet these tales may not be so difficult to comprehend if we’re able to empathize, and put ourselves back into that situation and moment in history.

The Little Falls Lock 17 Dedication Celebration of 1916 by Angela Harris

"Will Go Down in History: Historical Pageant and Lift Lock Celebration Greatest Ever Held in Mohawk Valley. July 4, 1916" The Little Falls Journal and Courier may be forgiven for the hyperbole of its banner headline and sub heading on July 4, 1916. The overflowing pride of the language reflects the premise and themes of The Little Falls Historical Pageant and Lift Lock Celebration. The civic pageants of the first twenty years of the 20th century were testaments to civic pride and patriotism, and Little Falls was no slacker.

Mayor Hadley Jones – A Saint or a Sinner (Part 2) by Louis Baum

The writing was on the wall. Since there was no way of getting out of debt, much of it a result of illegal activities, Hadley Jones had a choice of, most likely, going to prison or to flee from Little Falls to parts unknown. His choice was to get out of town fast, with as much as he could. The exit was well planned.

Mayor Hadley Jones – A Saint or a Sinner (Part 1) by Louis Baum

Everybody enjoys a “rag to riches“ story especially if it involves a local boy or girl. Think about John Riccardo. John was the son of hard-working Italian immigrant parents. His father had a shoe store on John Street in addition to working long hours in a local bicycle factory. John rose to become president and chairman of the board of Chrysler Corporation.