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Glens Falls History

Glens Falls is a City Rich in History!

Glens Falls HistoryGlens Falls NY was the site of many French-Indian and Revolutionary War Battles because of its halfway point between between Fort Edward in Fort Edward NY and Fort William Henry in Lake George NY. Orignally called "Chepontuc", a Mohawk word meaning 'hard place to get around', Glens Falls had a waterfall that blocked the Hudson River. In 1763 Abraham Wing formed a settlement called "Wing's Falls" but later lost the name of the town to Colonel Johannes Glen to settle a debt. Glen changed the name to Glen's Falls, and the apostrophe was eventually dropped.

In 1780, Glens Falls was destroyed in the "Great Burning" of 1780 when a British punitive expedition passed through the area. Glens Falls was rebuilt and came back stronger than ever!

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many renowned architects designed buildings in Glens Falls. Although three more fires posed serious threats, many unique buildings with storied histories survived and are still in use in the city today.

Glens Falls was incorporated as a city in 1908, separating it it from the Town of Queensbury. It celebrated its centennial in 2008 with many special events in Downtown Glens Falls.

Glens Falls prides itself on being named "Hometown USA," a title given to it by Look Magazine on account of its small-town feel and big city amenities.

1884 glens falls ny fire

Glens Falls' Great Fires

Glens Falls experienced significant fires in 1864, 1884, and 1902.

Learn more about the fires »

Photo: Chapman Museum

 
glens falls city hall

Glens Falls Buildings

Glens Falls is home to many architectural gems that have withstood the test of time.

Learn the history of iconic Glens Falls buildings »

Photo: Jason Checkla

   
church of the messiah glens falls ny

Three Squares Historic District

A large portion of Glens Falls has architectural and historic significance.

Learn about the Three Squares Historic District »

Photo: Jason Checkla

 


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Regional Towns

  • Mapped image of Glens Falls NYGlens Falls
    Discover Hometown USA, Glens Falls NY!
  • View of Queensbury NY on a mapQueensbury
    Visit Queensbury, NY - a bustling town sandwiched between Glens Falls and Lake George!
  • Map image of Fort EdwardFort Edward
    Learn more about the town of Fort Edward in Upstate NY!
  • Image of Lake LuzerneLake Luzerne
    Read more about the quaint area of Hadley - Lake Luzerne!
  • South Glens Falls New YorkSouth Glens Falls
    Learn more about the Village of South Glens Falls - a close knit community located in Upstate NY!

Regional Events

  • Adirondack Theatre Festival: PB&J Cafe - Dinner Theatre For Kids
    It’s about time kids get to have the same amount of fun in a theater that adults do! A revolutionary idea, the PB&J Café will give young theatre-goers the opportunity to order a meal from the cast of characters, participate in an art activity, dine during the live musical theatre performance, and come home with autographs from their favorite actors. THE SHOW: There are two sides to every story. Now the long-suppressed account of the Big, Bad Wolf is finally brought to light in Piggsylvania’s Trial of the Century, where the audience acts as the jury to decide the Wolf’s fate. Parents and children will delight in this music-filled adventure where the audience decides who really is to blame.
    See full details
  • Adirondack Theatre Festival: The Banana Tree
    A script-in-hand reading and post show conversation with the playwrights. by Dan Castellaneta & Deb Lacusta From the minds of The Simpsons stars, Dan Castellaneta (Homer Simpson) and Deb Lacusta (writer), comes a zany comedy about Angela, a convenience store clerk who dreams of being Las Vegas’ first African American female magician. But after a series of hilarious run-ins and blunders, Angela finds herself in the middle of a robbery, a kidnapping, and at the mercy of a criminal mastermind that also happens to be a telepathic banana tree.
    See full details
  • Adirondack Theatre Festival: PB&J Cafe - Dinner Theatre For Kids
    It’s about time kids get to have the same amount of fun in a theater that adults do! A revolutionary idea, the PB&J Café will give young theatre-goers the opportunity to order a meal from the cast of characters, participate in an art activity, dine during the live musical theatre performance, and come home with autographs from their favorite actors. THE SHOW: There are two sides to every story. Now the long-suppressed account of the Big, Bad Wolf is finally brought to light in Piggsylvania’s Trial of the Century, where the audience acts as the jury to decide the Wolf’s fate. Parents and children will delight in this music-filled adventure where the audience decides who really is to blame.
    See full details
  • Adirondack Theatre Festival: Spun
    Following their father’s death, Molly and her estranged brother Jesse try to find a way to reconnect within the ruins of their childhood. Memories have a funny way of changing over time though, and with two very different recollections, blame, doubt, and rock-n-roll become weapons. This high-octane musical explores the complexities of family and story-telling, weaving together the recollections and unique perspectives of siblings with comedy, wit, and rock.
    See full details
  • Adirondack Theatre Festival: Spun
    Following their father’s death, Molly and her estranged brother Jesse try to find a way to reconnect within the ruins of their childhood. Memories have a funny way of changing over time though, and with two very different recollections, blame, doubt, and rock-n-roll become weapons. This high-octane musical explores the complexities of family and story-telling, weaving together the recollections and unique perspectives of siblings with comedy, wit, and rock.
    See full details
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