Herkimer Home State Historic site is the Eighteenth century home of General Nicholas Herkimer, who was wounded at the battle of Oriskany during the American Revolution.
General Nicholas Herkimer, businessman and Revolutionary War hero, acquired his wealth through a portaging business. He would help remove the bateaus from the Mohawk River to avoid the rapids and falls, and relocate the bateaus in a safer location. Herkimer would charge a fee to use his land services, and the river served an integral role in trade and transportation.
In 1792, NY State’s first attempt to develop a passage through the mountains was a privately financed venture established under the leadership of General Philip Schuyler, a Revolutionary War hero, and a merchant named Elkanah Watson. Instead of a lock system they wanted to develop the falls, rapids, and shallow stretches into navigable waterways over a hundred miles from Albany on the Hudson to the western interior of New York State (Bernstein, 2005). This plan was not successful because of financial and engineering complications.
During the 1800’s, the owners of the Herkimer Home transformed the Georgian style mansion into a tavern and general store open to the public. The Herkimer Home accommodated the laborers working on the Erie Canal since Little Falls became an industrial hub as a result of the construction of Canal.
In National Geographic Magazine vol. 92, no. 1 page 83 shows the iconic painting by Frederick C. Yohn of General Herkimer injured at the Battle of Oriskany. Page 102 has an image of Lock 17 in Little Falls.