Saturday, July 23, 2011

Letchworth State Park, NY

Moving north, my next stop was Hamburg, NY, a suberb of Buffalo. Hamburg was a quiet little town, with a small town atmosphere. Our first evening we found a concert in the park with some pretty good music. Actually, we found you can fine a festival of some sort every weekend. The weekend we were in the area there was for example, the Hamburger Festival in Hamburg, a Wildlife Renesainnce Festival, Chekoslavakian Festival, Polish Festival, Italian Festival, and Canal Fest, among others.

But one of places we wanted to see while in the area was "The Grand Canyon of the East" or otherwise known as Letchworth State Park.

Although not near as deep as the real Grand Canyon, for the eastern part of the country, this canyon is considered good size. Of course because of the trees, it is hard to really get a feel for the depth of the canyon.

This angle gives a little better view. William Pryor Letchworth traveled through this country by train on business, fell in love with the area and in 1859 purchased his first property there. His home, now the Glen Iris Inn, was a place where he and his friends could get away from the dirt and grime of Buffalo. In 1906 he bequeathed his 1000 acres and his home to the state of NY, for use as a public park. He continued to live there until his death in 1910, where at that time it became the first state park in NY.

There are several sets of falls along the river. Here I am at the Lower Falls.

During the depression the WPA came in and built walkways throughout the park. Here is an arched bridge across the river, just below the lower falls.

The upper falls are underneath a railroad bridge. The original Portage Bridge was a wooden trestle bridge built by the Erie Railroad Company over the Genessee River in 1852. At the time it was the tallest and longest wooden bridge in the world. It burnt in 1875 and was rebuilt with an iron and steel design. It is still in use today, over 125 years later.

The Glen Iris Inn, originally William Letchworth's home, is now a lodge and restaurant.

The middle falls as seen from the front of the Glen Iris Inn.

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