Fourteen members of the Niagara Falls Liedertafel Singing Society pose with walking sticks, top hats, chairs and a small dog, at left, at the brink of the American Falls at Prospect Point in 1868. The Terrapin Point Tower is visible in the background.
Little of the history of the Liedertafel Singing Society remains on file in the library's Local History Department. The society was known for its popular balls and carnivals, said Maureen Fennie, manager of the department.
The society was formed by 1865, because in 1882, it held its 17th annual Bal-Masque at Prospect Park Pavilion. The Bal-Masque and Fancy Dress Carnival was planned for "Wednesday Eve'g, Feb. 8, 1882," and was advertised thusly:
"The management would beg leave to announce to the public generally that in order to make this entertainment doubly attractive, the Society is necessarily undergoing an enormous expense. A host of new and original features will be introduced, including rare and costly tableaux, King Carnival with his unlimited family, comical songs, the chorus of which consisting of over 100 MIXED VOICES, with full orchestra accompaniment, and many other laughable acts which are calculated to please the most fastidious, both participants and more especially our numerous spectators.
"A professional costumer, with an endless variety of costumes and masks, representing every Nation in the land, will be found at R.C. Viedt's Store, Main Street, a day before the carnival, thus giving all an opportunity of making early and suitable selections.
"Careful arrangements are made by the Committee to keep from the hall all improper or hideous costumes."
The music for the event was to be provided by "Hamlin's Celebrated Union Cornet Band." Tickets were $1 for gentlemen and 50 cents for ladies.
By the end of the decade, the society's popularity appeared to have declined.
On Jan. 11, 1896, under the headline, "An Old Picture," this article appeared in the Buffalo Courier: "An old and interesting picture has been discovered in the effects of the late well-known photographer George Barker. It is a large group photograph of the 24 original members of the Niagara Falls Liedertafel Society. This is a very old and was at one time a very prominent organization in Niagara Falls. Of the members, 14 are now dead."