The City of Glens Falls
Glens Falls was incorporated as a Village in 1839 and became a City in 1908 with native son, Charles Evans Hughes, signing the City’s charter. In the late 1700’s the area around the falls was known as Wings Falls, after the Quaker settler who built the first saw mill, grist mill and homes. Folklore has it that that Abraham Wing lost the naming rights to the falls to Colonel John Glenn in a poker game, changing the settlement’s name to Glens Falls forever.
Under the bridge that crosses the Hudson River at Glens Falls, you will find Cooper’s Cave. During a trip to visit Fort William Henry at Lake George, James Fennimore Cooper stopped at the falls and was inspired to include the cave by the falls in his book Last of The Mohicans. The Last of the Mohicans went on to be one of the most read books of all time and available in most written languages. In the main lobby of the Queensbury Hotel there is a painting depicting the cave being occupied by Cooper’s fictional characters.
Since Abraham Wing came to this unoccupied forested area, history has changed the look and feel of the area. Glens Falls became the industrial crossroads that it is today because of the easy availability of lumber for construction and export, limestone for cement and the power of the mighty Hudson River which was used to transport logs from the Adirondacks and to power the mills built along its banks.
The completion of the Glens Falls Feeder Canal in 1825 provided a ready marketplace in Albany and New York City for all of the lumber, lime, newsprint and paper products produced in Glens Falls. Since the canal was narrow with smaller locks than the rest of the New York State Canal system, special canal boats had to be built to be locked up from the Champlain Canal to Glens Falls. Having the ability to quickly ship merchandise out of Glens Falls and commodities back into the area helped the industrial and commercial leaders of the area become very wealthy. Evidence of this economic boom is still visible today, in all of the beautiful properties that line the streets of the City.
Other products produced in Glens Falls were Joubert & White buckboards, black marble mantels and flooring, bicycles, early automobiles, fine gloves, men’s shirts and ladies dresses. In later years Glens Falls and the area became well known for the medical devices being designed and made locally for the international market. The largest employer in the City has long been the Glens Falls Hospital which serves the majority of Warren County with a regional approach. Many other not for profit organizations also call Glens Falls home.
In 1944, Glens Falls was named Hometown U.S.A. by Look Magazine. During 1943, photographers covered the events and people that made up the city and the towns that surround it. Four magazine articles with extensive photo spreads were printed in 1944. Glens Falls organizations and businesses have drawn from the Look Magazine concept of Hometown U.S.A. for historical programming and advertising ideas many times over the years. The photographic work from 1943 is available for viewing at Crandall Public Library.
During the Urban Renewal era of the 1960’s and 70’s, the City fathers realized that they had an opportunity to affect change in the landscape of Glens Falls. Kamyr, a manufacturer of mechanical values used in the paper making industry, purchased a large plot of property in the City to construct its corporate offices. The senior citizen housing structures known as Stichman Towers and the Robert J. Cronin High-rise were also completed.
After much controversy, the Glens Falls Civic Center was built on a URA property and opened in 1978. It quickly became the hockey and entertainment center of the Greater Glens Falls area. The Detroit Red Wings farm team called the Center home for many years, providing fans with nights of enjoyable entertainment. Such acts as Kenny Rogers, Ringling Brothers, Grateful Dead and Sesame Street played the Center to sold out crowds. In the days leading up to the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, the Olympic torch run came through Glens Falls with a stop at the Civic Center for ceremonies. The Civic Center went through some slow years but starting in 2009 The Phantoms, the farm team of the Philadelphia Flyers, have been providing sports entertainment to the area. Along with having a hockey team in the area the number of other events held each year is also on the increase. Since 1981 each March the Glens Falls Civic Center has hosted the New York State Basketball tournament to the delight of the regional businesses, sports fans, players and officials. Glens Falls is also the home town of Jimmer Fedette who graduated from Brigham Young in 2011 and named the National Player of the Year. Beginning with the 2011-2012 season Jimmer began be playing professional basketball for the Sacramento Kings.
Glens Falls has proudly served the needs of its citizens and the surrounding area since the arrival of Abraham Wing and his followers so many years ago and plans to do for another two hundred years in the future.
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