Glens Falls History Mural


During World War II era, Look magazine photographers went to Glens Falls, New York, in 1943 & 1944 to take photographs for six articles, where they presented Glens Falls as a patriotic model of the home front during the war. Look anticipated that these articles would provide other communities with ideas to stimulate their own postwar planning.  The articles were published on April 4 and 18, June 27, September 5 and 19, and November 28, 1944.  It billed Glens Falls as Hometown USA, and the name has stuck ever since.

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The bridge that is depicted in this mural was the first of seven permanent bridges that have spanned the Hudson River between Glens Falls and South Glens Falls.  The year that it was built is not known but it was before 1800 since it was replaced in 1804.  This rendition of the bridge appeared in a Glens Falls Insurance Company brochure in the 1960’s and it is not known what artist created it however John Bradshaw Crandell did an early print of the bridge that looks a lot like this image.


The Glens Falls City Band is rich with tradition, as it has been performing concerts for over 100 years. Once known as the Citizens Band, this group would rehearse during the winter months at Union Hall in preparation for summer performances in Glens Falls City Park as well as Bolton Landing, Lake George, Lake Luzerne, and Warrensburg. In its earlier days it was comprised of community members of all ages; indeed there were sometimes 2 or even 3 generations of families performing together at concerts. The band performs Monday evenings in July at the City Park Bicentennial Bandstand, carrying on the proud tradition of public performances in Glens Falls.


The hospital was incorporated in 1897 and established at the residence of Solomon A. Parks at 48 Park Street. It came to be known as Parks Hospital. The hospital had two wards (one male, one female) consisting of 15 beds total initially (it now has over 400). The hospital’s name was officially changed to Glens Falls Hospital in 1909.

Fun Fact: Glens Falls has been referred to as the “Catheter Capital of the World” with as many as 6 factories devoted to creating the plastic tubes at one time,, employing about 3,500 workers.  Significant catheter production continues in Glens Falls to this day.

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In 1900, the New York State Woman Suffrage Association Convention was held at Rockwell House and Ordway Hall, Y.M.C.A. (the building opposite this mural!).  Speeches were given by suffragists from all over the state, including Carrie Chapman Catt, Rev. Anna Howard Shaw, and Mary S. Anthony, sister of Susan B. Anthony.  In 1917, New York became the 12th state (and the only one in the Northeast!) to grant American women the right to vote. 

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Log driving on the upper Hudson began in 1813 when brothers Norman and Alanson Fox drove logs out of the Brant Lake Tract down the Schroon River and into the Hudson to the mill of their partner, Abraham Wing, at Glens Falls.  The logs traveled from the abundant forests of the Adirondacks to mills downstream where they were processed and shipped throughout the nation.  The logging industry peaked in 1872, a year that Glens Falls saw 2 million logs flow down the Hudson.  Initially, all logs were used for lumber, but as time went on, paper became the dominant use.  

The Chronicle weekly newspaper, based in Glens Falls, was launched in 1980 by Mark Frost on a $1,700 investment. Published on Thursdays, the print edition of The Chronicle is available free at hundreds of locations throughout the region. It circulates in northern New York’s greater Glens Falls-Lake George region, encompassing Warren, Washington and northern Saratoga Counties.  It is also available for free in a digital format by subscribing at

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The building this mural is painted on is a Woolworth’s “5 & dime” store dating back to the early 1900s.  After being vacant for many years, it was converted to the Wood Theater in 2004 – a multi-use 294-seat performing arts theater – serving as a catalyst for the revitalization of Downtown Glens Falls. The Wood Theater operates as a nonprofit year-round, renting the facility to Glens Falls’ professional theatre company, the Adirondack Theatre Festival, and hosting nearly 350 music, theater, dance, arts and community events all year round as well as weddings, rehearsals and educational classes.

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Established in 1897, the One Mile Track was located on Upper Coolidge Ave. between Dixon Road and Sherman Ave. No less than 67 trotting horses set records at the track, “universally considered to be the fastest one-mile track in existence,” according to the 1908 book “Glens Falls – The Empire City.” Nicknamed the “Billiard Table Track,” for its smooth surface and speed, the track closed in 1902. As part of harness racing’s Grand Circuit, “The horses whose feet graced the track were the very peers of their species in this form of sport.”

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The Adirondack Red Wings (1979-1999) were a minor professional ice hockey team in the American Hockey League. They played in Glens Falls, New York, United States at the Glens Falls Civic Center. The team was affiliated with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League.

The Glens Falls Civic Center became the Cool Insuring Arena and has been the home for AHL and ECHL teams – the IceHawks, the Flames, the Phantoms, the Frostbite  – and is now the home of the Adirondack Thunder.

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Glens Falls’ manufacturing history includes cement as a mainstay. Glens Falls Cement Co., now a part of Lehigh Northeast Cement Company, was established in 1893 in Glens Falls, and is among the leading producers of bagged cement and bulk cementitious materials, with plants and distribution terminals located across North America. You’ll see the large “Iron Clad” sign displayed on their facility on Warren Street.

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The Queensbury Hotel opened for business on May 7, 1926.  It featured Colonial Revival architecture in its exterior, mahogany in its interior styling and room doors, and had more than 200 rooms.  Over the next couple of decades, the Queensbury added more guest rooms and meeting room facilities in order to accommodate the demand of business in the Adirondack Region.  In 2016 the building was purchased by Ed Moore and underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and complete overhaul of operations under the management of Spruce Hospitality, revitalizing one of the centerpieces of the Glens Falls community. 

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Charlotte Hyde was born in Glens Falls in 1867, the eldest of the three daughters of Samuel Pruyn, a prominent industrialist and co-founder of Finch, Pruyn and Company, the local paper mill. Charlotte and her husband Louis Hyde collected works of American and European Art that span 6,000 years and subsequently founded the Hyde Collection in 1952 as a museum dedicated to the community of Glens Falls.  

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Solomon Northup (Born: July 10, c. 1807 or 1808, died: between 1857 and 1875), was a free-born African American who lived and owned property in Glens Falls, NY, circa 1855. In 1841, Northup was kidnapped and sold into slavery, even though he had documentation of his status as a free man. After he was rescued, he came back to New York and wrote and published his memoir, Twelve Years a Slave.

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The Glens Falls Greenjackets are a semi-professional American football team in Glens Falls, NY. They were founded in 1928 as the Hudson Falls Greenjackets and are still playing today, making them the second oldest semi-pro team in the United States.  The first Greenjacket’s game was held at Derby Park on October 14,1928 against Saratoga – admission was only 35¢ cents. 

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The 1,200-seat theater had the largest seating capacity of any theater in Glens Falls when it opened in 1932 until it closed in April of 1978. For more than 50 years the Paramount Theatre, across Ridge Street from The Queensbury Hotel, was a gathering place in downtown Glens Falls for movies, musical entertainment and social interaction.  Its box office has been preserved and is on display in the lobby of the Wood Theater.

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In 1763, Abraham Wing formed a settlement called Wing’s Falls, but, according to local legend, later lost the name of the town to Colonel Johannes Glenn to settle a debt. Wing’s descendants claimed the legend was false. Regardless, the name was changed to Glenn’s Falls, eventually dropping the apostrophe and the extra N. Some accounts indicate that the debt was over a large wine supper, but local lore is that the name was lost during a game of poker. Glens Falls holds an annual Wing Fest to honor its original name every spring.

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The Native Americans called this site Chepontuc, “a difficult place to get around” because of the rocky falls that were 56 feet high. The community formed north of the falls was settled by Abraham Wing in 1763 and became known as Wing’s Falls, but it was changed to Glens Falls in 1788, after Col. Johannes Glen, a prominent property owner.   It had its first post office in 1808, and was incorporated as a village in 1839. Glens Falls achieved cityhood in 1908.

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Charles Wood was a revolutionary businessman and philanthropist who not only changed how families in upstate New York enjoyed their time together, but many say that he inspired theme parks around the world as we know them today. He created StoryTown a year before Disneyland opened; he later created GasLight Village, Waxlife USA and a host of motels and restaurants that brought visitors by the thousands to the Lake George area. And perhaps more importantly, established an approach to philanthropy that was revolutionary at the time including the creation of the Double H Hole in the Woods Camp for children with life-threatening illnesses.  His support through the Charles R. Wood Foundation continues to provide significant resources to the Glens Falls community, including to the Wood Theater that bears his name (and this mural).  

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The monument located near City Park at the intersection of Bay and Glen Streets was constructed in 1868 by R.T. Baxter It was built to honor the 644 Queensbury men who served in the Civil War from 1861-65, including the 95 who lost their lives. The sandstone marker was officially dedicated in May 1872.

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Designed in the early 1900’s by architect Ephraim Potter with large windows allowing for natural light, the building operated into the 80’s as a functioning textile factory, housing the booming McMullen-Leavens Company and Troy Shirtmaker’s Guild. The building was purchased by Eric Unkauf in 1999 and found new life as an artists’ haven and marketplace, housing nearly 100 creative individuals. The hallways feature shirts and dresses on display that were made in the building. 

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In 1978, Lorenzo Amato, the owner of a pizzeria in Glen Falls, N.Y., earned a Guinness World Record for baking the world’s largest pizza with a pizza 40 feet in diameter. The oversized creation was made of 5 tons of flour, 1,320 lbs. of cheese, 1,200 lbs. of pepperoni, and 316 gallons of sauce. Once it was baked, it was cut into more than 60,000 slices and handed out free to a cheering crowd who were encouraged to donate to the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation as a part of celebrating the record pizza bake.

The Post-Star is the only daily newspaper published in Warren County.  The current Post-Star newspaper traces its roots to 1904 with the founding of a paper called The Morning Post.In 1909 the owners of The Morning Post acquired a competing newspaper called The Morning Star and merged the two papers into The Post-Star.

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LARAC was founded in 1972 to unify the arts community and establish a cultural identity for the region. LARAC hosts annual arts festivals that feature hundreds of artists, and facilitates state-wide grants for local artists and arts organizations. LARAC, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) provides grants supporting artists throughout Warren, Washington, and northern Saratoga Counties.

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In 1980, the Olympic Torch passed through Glens Falls on its way to Lake Placid for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Mickey Luce of Glens Falls was selected to run the torch through New York to it’s final destination in Lake Placid. Luce, a member of the 1968 Olympic bobsled team, carried the torch into the Glens Falls Civic Center arena in front of a packed crowd.  A replica of The Centennial Torch of Hope remains on display in Downtown Glens Falls.

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Glens Falls High School was established in September 1906 with the building of a four-story school on Glen Street.  Two decades later the rear of the building was expanded to accommodate the Junior High School as well. In 1952, the Junior High School took over the entire building when the Senior High School was relocated to a new building on Quade Street.

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Glens Falls native son, Charles Evans Hughes, was an American statesman, politician and jurist who served as the 11th Chief Justice of the United States from 1930 to 1941. A member of the Republican Party, he previously was the 36th Governor of New York, an associate justice of the Supreme Court, and 44th U.S. Secretary of State as well as the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 1916 election. 

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Dirt Dogs are the world famous menu item at New Way Lunch, aka “Dirty John’s,” which was originally located on South Street in Downtown Glens Falls.  The hot dog topped with mustard, diced onion and a special meat sauce, has been served since 1919. There are now locations in Queensbury and Warrensburg.

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In 1885, four-wheeled horsecars bobbed along tracks to Glens Falls from Fort Edward with one driver and eight passengers. The round trip took two hours. The route was purchased and electrified and on July 14, 1901, the trolley line was extended to Lake George and Warrensburg. By 1903, it ran to Waterford, Saratoga Springs and Greenwich. 

The current trolley is motorized and runs in conjunction with the Glens Falls Transit Authority with regular routes year-round.

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Merchandt Bradt established a coal business with John Keenan at 11 Walnut St in 1876.  In 1900, Mr Bradt sold the business to the Glens Falls Coal Company.


The book represents not only a local connection to Cooper’s 1826 historical romance, but it is also a nod to the Crandall Public Library, a community treasure on Glen St. Although the narrative and descriptions are problematic to our 2022 cultural ethos, the book remains a classic adventure tale full of narrow escapes and cliffhangers. Cooper’s Cave, where hero Hawkeye and his companions hid, is located under the bridge between Glens Falls and South Glens Falls.

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Little-known fact: Glens Falls is the smallest city in America to support a fully professional symphony. Best known to the public for its annual July 3 free summer pops concert with fireworks in Crandall Park, the orchestra began in 1977, it regularly performs at an artistic level expected from orchestras up to five times the budget size. The orchestra offers a subscription season, educational outreach, and performs at the Glens Falls High School.

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According to the records of the Hudson River Boom Association, logging in the upper Hudson watershed peaked in 1872. That year 18 logging companies sent over 2 million individual logs totaling over 213 million board feet of lumber downriver to the sawmills in Glens Falls. In order to sort the trees by owner, each was “branded” with a log mark. The mark was applied by a hammer and Henry Crandall’s was in the shape of a five-pointed star.

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For over 150 years, Finch Paper LLC has been a Glens Falls institution. In 1865, Jeremiah Finch, Daniel Finch, and Samuel Pruyn formed the Finch Pruyn Company. The company manufactured lumber and other materials, including black marble, which had the honor of being incorporated into the Washington Monument. In the 1900s, Finch Pruyn Co. began producing paper and has done so ever since. Finch Pruyn Co. rebranded as Finch Paper LLC in 2007, and recently became 100-percent Boiler MACT compliant in order to protect the environment. Finch Paper LLC remains a major paper manufacturer in the area.

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Born into a family of meager means on the east side of Lake George in 1821, Henry Crandall received little formal education. As a young man, he went to work cutting trees near Indian Lake where he learned to understand finance. At age 29, with $1,000 in savings, he came to Glens Falls to live. Here he successfully invested in real estate and lumbering, and became a leading philanthropist. He founded Crandall Public Library in 1892 and his establishment of the Crandall Trust in 1913 helped support the Library and two parks. As a man of his times, he created a Boys Savings Club to benefit area youth.

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The Feeder Canal was completed in 1882 and was used to transport water from the Hudson River to the Champlain Canal in Fort Edward. Between 1822 until the early 1900s, the Feeder Canal was an essential waterway for Adirondack industry, moving lumber, lime, marble, paper, and various crops from the Lake George Area to New York City. Today the canal is used for public recreation. 

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Glens Falls went up in significant flames not once, but three times between 1864 and 1902, effectively wiping out most of the city’s older buildings.  While the settlement of Glens Falls dates back to the mid-1700’s, most of the buildings you see standing now were erected after 1902. Although the fires were devastating, the resilience of Glens Falls was proven by its residents’ determination to rebuild after each blaze. Some of the most positive outcomes of the fires include the establishment of a municipal water system and the improvement of building standards.

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