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Come visit Herkimer's Historic Four Corners

 

The Historic Four Corners is composed of the 1884 Herkimer County Historical Society Suiter Building Museum, the 1834 Herkimer County Jail, 1873 Herkimer County Courthouse, and the 1834 Herkimer Reformed Church, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours of the Society's Museum are free and open to the public during open hours of Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. and during the months of July and August on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Special tours of the other buildings need to be arranged ahead of time. The 1834 Jail is temporarily unavailable for touring because of restoration work.



The 1884 Suiter Building - a Queen Anne style building located at 400 North Main Street in Herkimer. This building was a legacy to the Herkimer County Historical Society in 1925 by Dr. A. Walter Suiter, a prominent citizen and physician. It was named in memory of Dr. Suiter's father, Col. James A. Suiter, a noted Civil War veteran.

The massive doors which Dr. Suiter ordered for the entrance to his mansion were built of mahogany. The griffin is one of two which grace the ornately carved front doors. The interior architectural elements are fashionable for the 1880's and include decorative hinges, burl veneer door panels and rectilinear banisters and newel posts with incised decoration.


One room in the Suiter building depicts Dr. Suiter's library with his record books, round oak table and other artifacts that would have been in a library in 1884. The style of the library is Eastlake with a beautiful tiled fireplace with etchings of Greek gods and goddesses with a mahogany mantel. An interesting fact is that the house was never lived in. It was used by Dr. Suiter as his doctor's office, waiting room and his library. Housed in this building is a free exhibit designed to be self-guided or you can ask for a guided tour. Currently the permanent exhibit is "All In A Days Work: Working People, Working Lives." The exhibit covers four rooms and features displays on early settlers and transportation, agriculture, industry and domestic life in Herkimer County. The artifacts date from the 1700's to the 1990's.

One room on the first floor is set up for rotating exhibits. Currently, the exhibit is a Veterans exhibit done by Historical Society President Jeff Steele. Please stop by to check out this relatively new exhibit!

On the second floor of the Suiter Building is the Fairfield Room featuring artifacts and photographs from the Fairfield Seminary, Medical College and Military School which was located in Fairfield, N.Y. Another room on the second floor is the Daughters of the American Revolution Room with a collection of genealogical material for the researcher to use. The books are from Margaret McKay's own private collection.



The 1870 Eckler House is Italianate in style and is located adjacent to the Suiter building. This is where the Society's offices are located as well as our Resource Center/Library and Gift Shop. A nice feature in the building is the Snell cabinet showcasing a variety of artifacts from the Society's collection. Currently there is a display on the Mohawk Valley Bottling Works that was in operation from 1929 to 1984 located in the village of Herkimer.

 

1834 Herkimer County Jail - This Federal style building is owned by the Herkimer County goernment, but tours are regularly given by the Herkimer County Historical Society. A museum display is set up on the criminal justice system of the past, featuring the famous cases of Chester Gillette (the "American Tragedy") and Roxalana Druse. Learn what life was like to be in jail in the 1800's and tour the jail cell area on the first floor.

On a lighter note, we have the Joyce Keller doll house and miniature display of 7 houses and 18 room boxes created from 1925-1985. A treat for young and old alike!

Unfortunately these displays are temporarily unavailable for touring because of restoration work that needs to be done on the building. A new group, Friends of Historic Herkimer County, has organized to help save the Jail and have been doing fundraising efforts for this purpose. For the status on their activities, you can call the Society at (315) 866-6413 or email us.


The 1873 Courthouse is still in the property of the Herkimer County government and acts as the headquarters for the Sheriff's Department. It is the site of the famous 1906 Gillette trial ("Adirondack Tragedy") among the many other cases that were heard in the court room.

The 1834 Reformed Church was the church to many early residents in Herkimer and still continues in operation. It houses one of the last remaining Tiffany walls that was restored several years ago.

School and group tours are offered by calling Sue Perkins at (315) 866-6413. The school tours cover the Historic Four Corners, which takes two hours. Group tours can be shortened or lengthened depending on the desire of the group. We also offer an architectural workshop to school groups whose students learn about architecture in Herkimer County and become familiar with using the library's resources to research the history of a home.