Herkimer (village), New York

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See also: German Flatts
Herkimer, New York
Village
Herkimer Municipal Hall, September 2009
Herkimer Municipal Hall, September 2009
Location within Herkimer County
Location within Herkimer County
Herkimer, New York is located in New York
Herkimer, New York
Herkimer, New York
Location within the state of New York
Coordinates: 43°1′34″N 74°59′25″W / 43.02611°N 74.99028°W / 43.02611; -74.99028Coordinates: 43°1′34″N 74°59′25″W / 43.02611°N 74.99028°W / 43.02611; -74.99028
Country United States
State New York
County Herkimer
Government
 • Mayor Mark M. Ainsworth
Area
 • Total 2.5 sq mi (6.6 km2)
 • Land 2.4 sq mi (6.3 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 384 ft (117 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 7,743
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 13350
Area code(s) 315
FIPS code 36-34121
GNIS feature ID 0952621
Website village.herkimer.ny.us

Herkimer is a village on the north side of the Mohawk River in Herkimer County, New York, United States, about 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Utica. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 7,743.[1]

The village takes its name from the Herkimer family, Palatine German immigrants who settled in the area in 1723. The most notable family member was Nicholas Herkimer, a general of the Tryon County militia, who died from wounds received at the Battle of Oriskany in the American Revolutionary War.[2]

The village is located within the Town of Herkimer and Herkimer County, and together they are referred to as "The Herkimers". Consequently, the citizens of the Village are served by three political entities of the same name: the Village of Herkimer, the Town of Herkimer and the County of Herkimer. (Only the residents of New York County in New York share a similar distinction.)

The village is the county seat for the county of Herkimer.

Herkimer County Community College, located in the northwest part of the village, was founded in 1966 by the Herkimer County Board of Supervisors.

History[edit]

Hudson River watershed map showing the Mohawk River

"German Flatts"[edit]

In 1700, the region was part of the territory of the Iroquois Mohawk Native American tribe. Their villages were linked by winding paths through the wilderness and the Mohawk River.

Palatine Germans first arrived in New York State in August 1708, with most arriving in the summer of 1710. Refugees from religious wars in Europe, they had agreed to exchange work for passage to the New York Colony. This was arranged by Queen Anne's government, and in 1710 nearly 2800 Germans arrived in ten ships at present-day Manhattan. They were at first quarantined on Nutten Island (now known as Governors Island) until the ship fevers ran their course. In exchange, they worked for some time in camps along the Hudson River to manufacture British naval supplies. As early as 1712, some went on upriver to settle in the Mohawk Valley.

In 1722, in response to a request by the German Palatine leaders Joseph Petrie and Conrad Rickert, Governor Burnet granted the Palatines a lease to purchase land from the Mohawk Nation in the vicinity of where West Canada Creek flows into the Mohawk River. After a survey of the land was completed in 1723, many more of settlers arrived to the village between 1723 and 1725. They settled on both the north and south sides of the Mohawk river. The area was originally known as "Burnetsfield", named in honor of the Governor. The Burnetsfield patent, granted April 13, 1725, assigned 100-acre (0.40 km2) lots to about ninety heads of family. The area was also referred to at times as "Stone Ridge", "The Flats", "The Falls", and most commonly, due to the mostly German immigrant population and the flat topography, as "German Flatts".

Shortly after 1722, a blockhouse and a church were erected in the village at the present site of the Reformed Church. The first known minister was the Reverend George Michael Weiss who served from 1735 to 1742. He was followed in 1751 by the Elder Rosencrantz, who was succeeded by his son the Reverend Abraham Rosencrantz, the latter serving until his death in 1796.

A schoolhouse was erected in 1745.

General Herkimer Home near Herkimer, NY (2009)

During the French and Indian War the town was twice attacked, by the French and their native American allies in November 1757 (cf. Attack on German Flatts (1757)) and again in April 1758 (Attack on German Flatts (1758). In 1758, the settlement on the south side of the river and Fort Herkimer wer attacked, and about 30 settlers were killed. Captain Nicholas Herkimer held the command of the Fort, assembling all of the settlers he could within the fort.

During the Revolutionary War, the town was attacked multiple times by Loyalists, as were other German settlements in the valley. One of these raids was by the Butler's Rangers in September 1778. (see Attack on German Flatts (1778)) The village was defended by Fort Dayton.

"General Herkimer at the Battle of Oriskany", Painting by F.C. Yohn, c. 1901, now in the public library in Utica, New York. (General Herkimer died of his injuries from the Battle of Oriskany on August 17, 1777.

Fort Herkimer and the settlement on the south side of the river were also attacked. George, Catherine and Nicholas Demuth were among children captured by the Onondaga during a raid, as they were playing outside the fort. After the war, during prisoner exchange, George and Catherine returned to the Demuth family. Nicholas, the youngest, had been adopted by an Onondaga chief and chose to stay with the tribe for the rest of his life. He eventually went with them to a reservation outside Syracuse and worked as an interpreter.

The town was attacked for the last time on July 15, 1782, by about five hundred Tories and Iroquois. Two residents were killed, Johann Christian Schell and his son, Denis Augustinius Schell. The rest managed to reach the safety of the Fort. Fifty horses were taken and fifteen killed, 180 cattle were taken and thirteen killed, and thirteen houses and two barns were burned.[2]


"Village of Herkimer"[edit]

In 1788, the township of Herkimer was organized, and the town had come to be known generally by townsfolk as the "Village of Herkimer", and in 1791, when Herkimer County was designated, the Village of Herkimer was established as the County Seat. By 1797, the village had a courthouse, a jail, and a Reformed Dutch Church, with about 40 houses and a population of approximately 250.[2] The village was incorporated in 1807. Its charter was amended in 1832 to enlarge the village, and in 1875, the village dispensed with its special charter and organized the village under the state law of the time.[2][3]

By the mid-to-late 19th Century, the Village was served by the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, a branch of which (the Mohawk and Malone Railway) extended north through the Adirondacks to Malone, New York; by an inter-urban electric trolley on railways going to Little Falls, Syracuse, Richfield Springs, Cooperstown and Oneonta; in addition to the Erie Canal which had been constructed earlier, between 1817 and 1825.[3]

By the late 19th Century, the Village also had a public library, and was home to the Folts Mission Institute, which opened in 1893 as a training school for young women under the auspices of the Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.[3] In 1907, a monument was erected in a city park by the Village to honor American Revolutionary War General Nicholas Herkimer (unveiled August 6, 1907).[3]

Historic Herkimer County Jail, where Chester Gillette ( Theodore Dreiser's "An American Tragedy") was held during his 1908 trial for murdering Grace Brown - (2009 photo)

National Register of Historic Places[edit]

The Herkimer County Courthouse, Herkimer County Jail, Herkimer County Historical Society, The Reformed Church, Palatine German Frame House, and United States Post Office are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]

National Heritage Site[edit]

Map showing route of the Erie Canal, c. 1840

In 2000, the United States Congress designated the historic route of the Erie Canal, which runs through the Village of Herkimer, as the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.[5]

Places of interest in modern-day Herkimer[edit]

Mudville Softball Complex[edit]

The Mudville Softball Complex on Route 28 just north of Herkimer (which takes its name from the fictional town in the poem Casey at the Bat) hosts Interscholastic and Travel Team Softball Tournaments throughout the spring and summer. The facility is also home to the New York State High School Softball Hall of Fame.

Golf course[edit]

Established in 1907 as a private country club, the now public Mohawk Valley Country Club -- with an 18-hole golf course, driving range, practice green and tennis courts -- is situated on State Route 5 just east of Herkimer.[6]

Herkimer diamond mines[edit]

Several small commercial mines in the area cater to tourists, where visitors can hunt for Herkimer diamonds.

Plantation Island wildlife management area[edit]

The Plantation Island New York State Wildlife Management Areas, consisting of approximately 300 acres of Mohawk River floodplain, lies on the opposite shore of West Canada Creek just southeast of the Village of Herkimer. Another smaller Wildlife Management site, providing access and parking for fishing on the creek, is just northeast of the Village, along Shells Bush Road, across the Donald J. Mitchell Bridge from State Route 28.

Local humor[edit]

In the 1940's, a pejorative epithet: "Herkimer-Jerkimer" -- used by some in attempts to disparage area residents -- developed some currency among a few city slicker denizens of, particularly, New York City -- apparently envious of the Upstate area's more laid-back, tranquil pace of life and natural beauty. Local residents took little umbrage, content in their knowledge of the ongoing lucrative boost to the local economy, from the large numbers of these "New York City Pigeons" (as they sometimes referred to them) flocking to the area in droves on week-ends every spring, summer and fall -- and even on occasion in the winter months -- for tourism and recreation.[7][8][9]

In the late 1950's, competing epithets used by the fiercely competitive Herkimer High School and neighboring Ilion High School athletic teams emerged -- when some from Ilion High began calling Herkimer students "Pizza Pushers", and Herkimer students responded by thereafter labeling Ilion athletes as "Cake Eaters".[10]

2013 Shooting Incident[edit]

An FBI K-9 Unit Police Dog

On the morning of March 13, 2013, the Herkimer area was the target of two deadly shooting incidents committed by 64-year-old Kurt Myers of nearby Mohawk, New York. The incident left five people dead, including the gunman, with two others injured. The first two victims were fatally shot by Myers, and two injured, at a barbershop in Mohawk. Shortly afterwards, two additional victims were fatally shot by him in Herkimer at Gaffey's Fast Lube and Car Wash.[11]

An extensive manhunt ensued, with Herkimer County Police assisted by State Police and the FBI. And, early the next morning, on March 14 — and with the help of a two-year-old tactical FBI K-9 search dog — law enforcement officers finally cornered Myers on North Main Street in Herkimer, hiding in an abandoned hotel building. A standoff and shoot-out ensued in which the gunman Myers was killed[12] — but during which the K-9 police dog, who was named "Ape", sacrificed his life when shot by Myers while searching for him inside the abandoned building.[13] Memorials were later established to honor the heroism of the dog—by Village of Herkimer, and at the FBI K-9 Training Center in Quantico, Virginia.[14] (In many jurisdictions, the intentional injuring or killing of a police dog is a felony.)[15]

In popular culture[edit]





Geography[edit]

The Village of Herkimer is located at coordinates 43°1′34″N 74°59′25″W / 43.02611°N 74.99028°W / 43.02611; -74.99028 (43.026207, -74.990304),[16] in Central New York State, approximately halfway between Syracuse and Albany and 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Utica. It is at Exit 30 on the New York State Thruway (Interstate 90). New York State Route 5 and New York State Route 28 intersect and combine for a short distance within the village.

The village has a total area of 2.54 square miles (6.6 km2), of which 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) is water.[17]

Herkimer is at the confluence of the Mohawk River and its tributary, West Canada Creek. The Plantation Island Wildlife Management Area administered by the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, has been designated on the opposite shore of West Canada Creek just southeast of the Village of Herkimer, consisting of approximately 300 acres of Mohawk River floodplain. Another smaller Wildlife Management site providing access and parking for fishing has been designated on West Canada Creek, northeast of the Village, just across the creek on Shells Bush Road.

Geological information[edit]

The Herkimer/Middleville area is a favorite collecting area for rockhounds due to its vast deposits of large, low-inclusion quartz crystals known as "Herkimer diamonds," similar to "Cape May diamonds." Although the minerals are not true diamonds, they are sometimes used as gemstones and incorporated into jewelry. The minerals formed in Cambrian age limestone and dolostone, probably from ground water action after the original formation of the rock in an ancient sea. According to locals, it is considered lucky to recover a crystal still partly embedded in a chunk of its host rock.

Several commercial mines cater to tourists, who can break up rock or screen soil weathered from it. The quartz itself is resistant to weathering.

Demographics[edit]

As of the 2000 census, there were 7,498 people, 3,184 households, and 1,687 families residing in the village. The population density was 3,107.1 inhabitants per square mile (1,199.7/km2). There were 3,528 housing units at an average density of 1,462.0 per square mile (564.5/km2).[17] The racial makeup of the village was 96.1% White, 1.2% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.[1]

Of the households, 23.6% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 36.6% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.0% were non-family households. 35.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.87.[18]

19.2% of the residents were under the age of 18, 15.3% from 18 to 24, 22.5% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 22.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.4 years. For every 100 females there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.9 males.[19]

The median income for a household in the village was $24,762, and the median income for a family was $38,892. Males had a median income of $30,266 versus $19,438 for females. The per capita income for the village was $16,498. About 8.1% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of children under age 18 and 10.0% of those age 65 or over.[19]

Major highways[edit]

Notable people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Herkimer village, New York - Fact Sheet". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  2. ^ a b c d "HISTORY OF THE VILLAGE OF HERKIMER"[1]. Village of Herkimer Homepage. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
  3. ^ a b c d Encyclopædia Britannica, "Herkimer", 1911.
  4. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  5. ^ "Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor". Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ Mohawk Valley Country Club Homepage Mohawk Valley Country Club Retrieved 2015-06-16
  7. ^ Allen, Irving Lewis (December 1993) [1994]. The City in Slang: New York Life and Popular Speech. Oxford University Press. pp. 3, 245. ISBN 978-0-19-509265-3. 
  8. ^ Burkardt, John (2008-06-27). "Itty Bitty: Rhyming Nonsense". Retrieved 2008-08-12. a humorous name, a rustic, a stupid man 
  9. ^ McKinley, Jesse (1995-11-19). "F.Y.I.". New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2008-08-12. A 'Herkimer Jerkimer?' Why, that's a local yokel, you rube. 
  10. ^ Gingles, John - "Gaining Not Only a Bride -- Discovering the Incomparable Splendor of Upstate New York's Mohawk Valley", A Personal Memoir, Washington, D.C., 2007.
  11. ^ Carpenter, Jake (March 14, 2013). "Four killed in upstate New York shootings, police say". CNN. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  12. ^ Carroll, Sean (March 14, 2013). "Suspect Killed In Shootout In Herkimer". WHAM-TV. Retrieved 2013-06-10. 
  13. ^ Guse, Maren (March 14, 2013) - "FBI K-9 Dog 'Ape' Killed in Line of Duty in Herkimer"[2]. CYN-CENTRAL. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
  14. ^ Benny, Michael - "Memorial Service Held for Hero K-9 Killed in Herkimer County"[3]. CYN-CENTRAL. Retrieved 2015-06-14.
  15. ^ Palmer, Brian (2008-07-18). "So Help You, Dog - How does a canine cop become a "sworn officer"". Slate. 
  16. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  17. ^ a b "New York by County - GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  18. ^ "New York by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-P7. Households and Families: 2000". American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  19. ^ a b "Table DP-1. Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000, Geographic area: Herkimer village, New York" (PDF). Census 2000 Profiles. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 

External links[edit]