The location became a settlement for Puritans from New England at the end of the 18th Century. At first this town was called "Stump City" because after the land was cleared for development there were the stumps left from the trees.
The proximity of forests to supply bark for tanning made the community a center of leather production early in its history. After this, it earned its name for being the centre of the U.S. glove making industry for many years. Upon the establishment of a United States Post Office in 1828, Gloversville became the official name of the community. At one time, during the heyday of glove production in the middle 20th century, Gloversville's factories and shops produced one out of every three gloves in the world. Gloves are still produced in Gloversville, on a much smaller scale, as the glove industry has moved primarily overseas.
During most of the late 19th and 20th centuries Gloversville, along with neighboring Johnstown, were referred to as the Glove and Leather capital of the World. Many large tanneries and glove shops employed nearly 80% of the residents of these "Glove Cities" and their surrounding communities. There are still remnants of the once proud and massive industry seen in the form of old industrial buildings. Many homes in the area once housed components of the business. Home workers sewed the gloves from leather that had been cut in factories. Every aspect of the industry was supported and supplied by fringe businesses such as box makers, sewing machine repairmen, thread dealers and more.
Although the current roster of glovers, tanners and leather dressers is just a mere shadow of the once booming industry, most current residents can trace back several generations of involvement with the "Glove Cities" tradition. Today, the Fulton County Museum houses a display to allow locals and visitors to remember the once dominating craft of those that made Gloversville and the surrounding area a world renowned centre of glove making.
The community was incorporated as a village in 1851.
This is also the main headquarters for the Schine movie industry. They revered The Glove Theatre as the favorite of all of the movie houses that they owned. Hollywood movies would sometimes premier in Gloversville, before they were opened in California.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Richard Russo (Empire Falls,"Nobody's Fool".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." Actress Elizabeth Anne Allen, who played Amy Madison on Buffy the Vampire Slayer was also raised in Gloversville.
Frederick Remington, artist, was a one-time resident.
New York State Route 29A (Fulton Street) is an east-west road through the city. New York State Route 30A is a north-south highway through the east side of the city. Another north-south highway, New York State Route 309 (Bleecker Street) terminates its southern reach at NY-29A in Gloversville.
The Cayadutta Creek flows southward through the city, which is southwest of the Great Sacandaga Lake.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,755, and the median income for a family was $34,713. Males had a median income of $27,109 versus $21,250 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,207. About 14.9% of families and 19.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.6% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over.
Gloversville High School is the only high school in Gloversville and serves grades 9 through 12.