When you are traveling through De Kalb on NYS Route 812 you may notice a new roadside marker for Cooper’s Rock. The roadside marker funded by the W G Pomeroy Foundation in cooperation with the New York Folklore Society. is one of a series commemorating New York States local legends A grant for the marker was obtained by the Town of De Kalb Historian.
In August 1904 the Syracuse Herald ran a story about the deserted village of Cooper’s Falls. The article was illustrated with photographs including one of Cooper’s Rock. The reporter claimed the famous author James Fenimore Cooper, at 14, had visited the site in 1804. While visiting he was supposed to have sat upon the huge glacial boulder and dreamed of his future novels while gazing across the Oswegatchie River.
The article was soon reprinted in several St. Lawrence County newspapers. A follow up article disputing the claim was printed soon after. There is no evidence that James Fenimore Cooper ever visited the Town of De Kalb. However, once published, the story became a local legend that has been passed down from generation to generation.