A Visit to Letchworth Park
December 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Mr. Letchworth's death. A few months before his passing, Nunda News editor Walter B Sanders visited the Glen Iris and the grounds of the new Park that Mr. Letchworth had donated to the people of New York State the previous winter. The article he wrote provides an interesting look at the new park and is a fitting tribute to the memory that amazing man. The original article appeared in the News on September 10, 1910.
Picturesque “Glen Iris” Most Beautiful and Historic Park in the State
Buildings Sacred to the Memory of Mary Jemison are kept in Excellent Order
How many readers of the “News” have ever put in a full day at Portage, starting from the High Bridge, walking down through Glen Iris, the beautiful home of Hon. Wm. Pryor Letchworth, visiting the Indian Council House, the museum, inspecting the house that Mary Jemison built for her daughter, pausing to admire the statue erected to the memory of “The White Woman of the Genesee” and following the winding path down through the woods to the Lower Falls, after having visited the Upper and Middle Falls? If there is any reader of the “News” in this locality who has not made the trip, they will find it time well spent and the trip will afford them views that cannot be surpassed anywhere in the state of New York.
Mr. Letchworth’s private grounds, surrounded by stately old trees, the lawns dotted with numerous flower beds and fountains, are open to the public, and this privilege accorded to the public on the part of its owner is characteristic of the man who last year made the state of New York a gift of the entire property.
Seated in his study, on the third floor of his home, where he can see and hear the roaring waters of the Middle Falls, the editor of the “News” found Mr. Letchworth engaged Monday in making diagrams and mapping out improvements to be made about his vast estate.
Past eighty-seven years of age, and last year sustaining a fall from his carriage, Mr. Letchworth is remarkably bright and smart, and it was an added pleasure to meet the grand old man and to see him so pleasantly situated in his declining years. Surrounded by competent helpers, Mr. Letchworth continued to look after his business affairs and that he delights in doing little things for his friends was evident when he sent a man with a wheelbarrow full of wood down to a party of Nunda campers and placed a small cottage at the disposal of the party, fitted up with a stove for cooking purposes.
To appreciate the beauties of Glen Iris and to fully realize the magnitude of the gift of this property to the people of the state, it might be well for one to visit similar resorts and gorges in this and other states. The view from “Inspiration Point,” in the writer’s opinion, surpass anything in the state, and there are numerous other views, different but fully as beautiful. It is doubtful if many York state folks realize the scenic beauties of Glen Iris; the money that has been expended in the beautifying the property and it is still more doubtful if they know much about the man who purchased the property in 1859, and has lived here all these years, devoting liberally of his time and money, in aiding the unfortunate and in entertaining during the summer hundreds of homeless city children. The crowning event of Mr. Letchworth’s life was his gift of this property to the state, title to take effect at his death. His name will be written in history as “The Grand Old Man of the Genesee.”