From 1880 to 1950 Gloversville and Johnstown were known as the Glove Making Capital of the World. Fulton County was the first place in the nation where gloves were manufactured and in its heyday produced 90 percent of the country’s men’s leather gloves. The reasons were many – an abundance of water, rich supplies of lumber, firs and the hemlock bark needed to tan leather, and a central location that made shipping feasible to major Northeast ports.
“In many communities and schools across the nation, history is considered a deadly subject. Not so in Fulton County. Here it is a part of the everyday vitality of life. In a community where place names, historic sites, public buildings and contemporary industry have roots in the rich soil of the past, history is not dead. It is only yesterday. ”
– Edmund J. Winslow, Senior New York State Historian
The factors that inspired previous booms in Fulton County are still valid in the 21st century. The county is centrally located and rich in resources. It is developing a vibrant industry in encouraging bold, forward-thinking ideas and actions to make Fulton County’s future as glittering as its past.
From Hemlock to a Golden Age
A story of the Gloversville Glove Boom
Historic Johnstown, a paragon of American success
Fun Fulton Facts and Legends:
- The famous suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was born in Johnstown.
- The county’s namesake, Robert Fulton, improved the invention of the steamship and ran one of the earliest steamships on the Hudson.
- Because Gloversville was the headquarters for the Schine movie industry, Hollywood movies often premiered in Gloversville before they opened in California.
- Prior to being named Gloversville upon the establishment of a United States Post Office in 1828, the area had been known as “Stump City” because of the large number of trees that had been harvested.
- Gloversville native G. David Schine (September 11, 1927 – June 19, 1996), was the wealthy heir to a hotel chain fortune who became a central figure in the Army-McCarthy Hearings of 1954 in his role as the chief consultant to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Following Schine’s death in an airplane crash, playwright Tony Kushner, who had previously authored the Pulitzer-prize winning Angels in America, wrote a one-act play, G. David Schine in Hell. The play takes place on the day Schine died and portrays Schine as he arrives in hell and is reunited with Roy Cohn, Richard Nixon, Whittaker Chambers, and J. Edgar Hoover.
Legend has it that Mohawk Bear Clan Chief Hendrick Theyanoguin, a great friend of Johnstown founder Sir William Johnson‘s, coveted a fancy dress coat of Sir William’s. King Hendrick, knowing well what Sir William’s reaction would be, told the baronet that he’d had a dream in which Johnson had given him the coat. Sir William promptly did just that.
Later, Johnson visited the chief and reported that he, too, had had a dream. In his dream King Hendrick had given him a vast tract of Mohawk Valley land. King Hendrick, though taken aback, was not to be outdone in generosity and, it is said, concluded the episode with these words – “Brother, the land is yours, but you must not dream again”.
- Actress Elizabeth Anne Allen, who played Amy Madison on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was raised in Gloversville.
- In 1899, the Hollywood producer Samuel Goldwynimmigrated from Poland through England to Canada, walked through snow into the United States at an unmanned border point in rural Maine, eventually making his way to Gloversville, where he worked as a glove maker and commissioned salesman for the Elite Glove Company.
- Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo (Empire Falls, The Risk Pool) was raised in Gloversville. The city and its residents were the inspiration for many of his characters and locations in his novels, especially his novel Mohawk.
- More fun: Mohawk Valley Library Association’s Johnstown I Spy site. The team took historical photographs and compared them to what is there today, adding historical background and audio interviews.
“No locale was more crucial to the early development of New York State and Pre-Revolutionary America than the area that is now known as Fulton County, NY.” — Fulton County, A Pictorial History” by Lewis G. Decker