David H. Burrell Mansion

Other names: Overlook, David H. Burrell Mansion

Location: 1 Overlook Lane, Little Falls, NY, 13365      County: Herkimer      In vicinity of city or town: yes

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Area of Significance

Area(s) of significance:

Significant person: David H. Burrell

Architect, builder, or engineer: Archimedes Russell

Narrative statement of significance:

Overlook is one of the few (remaining) private residences designed by Archimedes Russell, who is best known for some of his design contributions to the campus at Syracuse University, in Syracuse, NY. The Mansion represents a prime example of late 19th century tastes for both technology and aesthetic harmony, and is truly one of a kind in the Mohawk River Valley. Of particular interest is a rare early electrical device in the basement of the mansion that once provided electricity to the house when such a service was a rare luxury.
Burrell, who was an inventor as well as a farmer, had made a deal with the local government of Little Falls when the house was built. The city wished to run waterlines through the property from a reservoir in the hills, and Burrell agreed, as long as some of the water was diverted to his house. Here, it was used in a device called a Pelton Wheel that could provide electricity to his entire estate at minimal cost. Today the wheel is still in place, though unused and in need of much repair.

Burrell is also cited as having invented and/or contributed to the modern oil-burning home furnace. Below is a brief quote from the Presidential Proclamation, “Oil Heat Centennial Year,” on October 9, 1985 made by President Ronald Reagan.

“It was just 100 years ago that American ingenuity developed oil heat as a practical reality. On August 11, 1885, the Patent Office granted to David H. Burrell of Little Falls, New York, a patent for the first technically sound oil burner — a furnace that could burn liquid and gaseous fuels.”

This fact alone, combined with the architectural significance and the original Pelton wheel make Overlook a rare and important building and site of considerable significance.

Level of Significance

Significant at international level:no

Significant at national level:yes

Significant at state level:yes

Significant at local level:yes

National Register Criteria

See details on critiera here.

Criteria A: unknown
Criteria B: unknown
Criteria C: unknown
Criteria D: unknown

Criteria consideration A: unknown
Criteria consideration B: unknown
Criteria consideration C: unknown
Criteria consideration D: unknown
Criteria consideration E: unknown
Criteria consideration F: unknown
Criteria consideration G: unknown

Period of Significance

Periods of sig:

Significant dates:

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