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Little Falls City

Little Falls City Hall is located at 659 East Main Street, Little Falls NY 13365; phone: 315-823-2400.

Beginnings [1]

The earliest permanent European settlers in the area of Little Falls were Palatine Germans, who first arrived in this frontier region in 1723. An era of sustained growth occurred following the end of the Revolutionary War, when an influx of New England immigrants arrived seeking opportunities on the lands forfeited by former Loyalists. Located in the deep and rocky defile cut through the Appalachian range by the Mohawk River, Little Falls became key to passage between the Hudson River and Lake Erie. Here, the Mohawk plunged 40 feet over rocks and rapids, providing attractive potential water power sites, but hindering a through water route. The region's abundant limestone and timber resources attracted numerous speculators and entrepreneurs during the Federal period. Seeking to create a transportation passage around the falls, a group of investors established the Western Inland Lock Navigation Company, which constructed a rudimentary canal and a series of five wooden locks on the north side of the Mohawk between 1792 and 1795. The opening of the Erie Canal through Little Falls (1825) greatly stimulated local economic and population growth. Little Falls was incorporated March 30, 1811. The community became a center of water-powered manufacturing, commerce and transportation. The hilly, surrounding terrain of Herkimer County was suited to dairy farming; the Little Falls area gained a reputation for quality cheese production by the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Little Falls became the center of the cheese industry, shipping tons of the product, setting standards and prices in the world market.

  1. Smith, Raymond W., New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, South Ann Street-Mill Street Historic District, nomination document, 2007, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
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