Pieces of the Past
Artifacts, Documents, and Primary Sources
from Letchworth Park History

Annual Report of the ASHP Society for 1919
Part I

The American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society operated Letchworth Park from the time of Mr. Letchworth's death until 1930. Each year the Society published an annual report reviewing activities in each of the parks and historical sites they oversaw. One such report was the "25th Annual Report" (Albany, J Byron Company Printers, 1920) of the Society which provides an interesting look at the young state park. The Letchworth material is found from page 74 to 98 of the book.

The report seems to be divided into two sections. The first, according to the introduction to the report, consists of material reprinted from a little guidebook by Caroline Bishop, published by the Society the year before. The second is the actual report for 1919, including events, work done, weather conditions, and a financial report.

Here is the first of two parts. You can either scroll through the selection below or click on one of the subheadings found in the original report. Part Two includes the financial report for Letchworth Park.

Please keep in mind that the following is a description from the 1919 time period and many aspects of the Park have changed over the years!

Letchworth State Park

           Letchworth Park is a tract of about 1,000 acres which lies on the Genesee River in the town of Genesee Falls, Wyoming County, and the town of Portage, Livingston County, and was given to the State of New York by the late William Pryor Letchworth LL.D. It is in the custody of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. In 1919, the Society published a little guide book of the Park, prepared by Miss Caroline Bishop. librarian of the Park, from which the description (below) is taken.

How to Reach the Park

            By the Erie Railroad, Letchworth Park station, between Castile and Portage, is sixty miles from Buffalo and thirty‑one miles from Hornell. Portageville, the nearest regular station on the Pennsylvania Railroad to the park, is fifty‑seven miles from Rochester, and forty‑eight miles from Olean. The Eric road passes through the southern portion of the park and crosses the bridge spanning the Genesee River just above the Upper Fall at a height of 234 feet from the water. The branch of the Pennsylvania road between Rochester and Olean extends along the southeastern side of the park.

            Visitors to the park can leave the Erie road at three different stations. It is a pleasant drive of four miles from Castile station to the Glen Iris Inn, and if one has more than hand luggage it is best to stop at Castile and drive from the village to the park. By a walk of but little more than a mile across the railway bridge through the forest, the inn may be reached from Portage station. The "flag station" within the park, where local trains stop on signal or request made to the conductor, is about fifteen minute walk from the inn.

            From the "flag station" on the Pennsylvania road the inn is accessible only by a footpath, also leading through the forest  and across the Erie Railroad bridge. The distance is about 1 1/2 miles.  Portageville is about three miles by highway from Glen Iris.

            The inn, formerly the residence of the late William Pryor Letchworth and still containing valuable furnishings which he provided for it, is open for guests during the summer months.

The post‑office address of the Park and the Inn is Castile, N.Y.

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The Gift of the Park

            In the Twelfth Annual Report of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, transmitted to the Legislature in April, 1907, there is in extended description of Letchworth Park, beginning as follows:

"There is in the western part of New York State, on the brink of a forested canyon and overlooking a stately waterfall, an idyllic home. It is such a home as a Thoreau or a Bryant or an Emerson might have loved. This is the home, however, not of a dreaming poet, but of a man with a poet's soul united to a practical and executive mind which has been devoted for more than the length of an average generation to the welfare of his fellow‑men. He is a man of singular modesty, of gentle voice, of winning old‑school courtesy, of sensitive sympathies, and a great all‑enveloping heart. Although the whitened locks above his kindly face tell something of the four score and three years which he has seen, yet his unimpaired faculties are still devoted daily to the service of human brotherhood, and the unabated warmth of his human sympathy makes sunny the autumn of his beautiful life."

        In the summer of 1906, Dr. Letchworth invited the counsel of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society in reference to the final disposition of his estate. The negotiations culminated in 1907 in the gift of this superb property to the State of New York. The deed was signed on the 31st day, of December and when Governor Hughes signed the act of acceptance on January 24, 1907, he filed the following memorandum:

        "This bill provides for the acceptance of a deed of gift made by  William Pryor Letchworth to the people of the State of New York, conveying lands of about one thousand acres in extent, situate in the town of Genesee Falls, Wyoming County, and the town of Portage, Livingston County. The deed is made upon the condition that the lands be forever dedicated to the purpose of a public park or reservation , subject only to the life use and tenancy of Mr. Letchworth, who shall have the right to make changes and improvements thereon.

    "This gift to the people is an act of generosity which fitly crowns a life of conspicuous public usefulness, and entitles the donor to the lasting regard of his fellow-citizens. The people of the State cannot fail to realize the advantages which will accrue from their acquisition of this beautiful tract, and by means of its perpetual dedication to the purpose of a public park or reservation.”

          By a concurrent resolution of the Senate and the Assembly, passed early in February, 1907, it was declared that the lands conveyed to the State by Dr. Letchworth should hereafter be known as "Letchworth Park," to "commemorate the humane and noble work  private and public charities to which his life has been devoted, and in recognition of his eminent services to the people of this State."

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The Waterfalls

            The names given by Dr. Letchworth to different portions of his estate are still retained. The rainbow seen in the mists above the falls on the cloudless days suggested the name Glen Iris for his residence. A pure stream of running water, gave rise to the name Lauterbrunnen, the portion of the estate on which is located the Swiss chalet, which is now occupied by the Superintendent of the Park. "Chestnut Lawn," and "The Homestead" designate other portions of the park.

            The park embraces the Portage gorge of the Genesee River, and within the gorge are the Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. It extends from 3,800 feet up-stream from the Upper Fall to 2,000 feet below the Lower Falls, a distance of three miles as the river runs. According to the United States topographic map, the height of the Upper Fall, is 71 feet the height of the Middle Fall, which is about 2,100 feet below the Upper Fall, is 107 feet; and the height of the Lower Falls, about 7,900 feet below the Middle Fall, is seventy feet. The descent of the river within the Park is 290 feet. About 800 acres lie on the west bank of the river in Wyoming County, and the remainder, a fraction more than 205 acres, on the opposite bank in Livingston County.

            A short distance below the Lower Falls and a little beyond the boundary of the Park is the deepest gorge on the river. Here the banks are more than 600 feet high. Although farther down stream, this canyon is near Glen Iris than the Lower Falls, on account of the great circular curve in the river.

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Glen Iris House

            The Glen Iris house is situated on a plateau overlooking the Middle Fall. It stands in the midst of extensive lawns adorned with majestic trees planted by Dr. Letchworth in the early sixties. The lake and fountain are fed from a reservoir on the hillside in the rear of the house. The water used for domestic purposes comes directly from springs on the hillside, about ninety  feet above the Glen Iris plateau.

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Library and Museum

            The construction of the stone building on the Glen Iris grounds was begun in the fall of 1912 and completed in the spring of 1913. The material in the stone walls on the estate which where not necessary to a state park was used in the construction of the building. Although the precise plan of this structure was not decided upon before Dr. Letchworth's death, the subject of erecting a fireproof building in which his reference library could be placed was considered. The library is a valuable collection of works relating to charity and was formerly in his study on the third floor of his residence. The volumes are now arranged in the rear rooms of the stone building. The museum collection and the library are in the same building.

            The museum contains several thousand specimens illustrative of the primitive arts of the North American Indians, especially those peculiar to the Senecas, who at one time occupied the territory in New York west of a line extending north from Elmira to Lake Ontario, and who were the keepers of the western door of the Iroquois Confederacy. Other objects of interest include the skull and tusks of a mastodon (Mastodon Giganteus) found in 1876 on the outskirts of the village of Pike, which is about seven miles from Glen Iris; the portrait of Major Moses Van Campen, a fearless Indian fighter in the War of the Revolution, whose later life was associated with the history of the Genesee Valley; the tomahawk with which Major Van Campen slew five of a party of ten Indians who had taken him captive; the terra cotta figures of an Indian war chief and an Indian maiden, modeled by the celebrated sculptor Mr. Carl Bitter, and two Iroquois busts, modeled front life subjects by Mr. Caspar Mayer, of Brooklyn, N. Y.

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Council House Grounds

            The elevated plateau in the rear of the Glen Iris grounds is a spot of great historic interest. Here now stands an ancient Council House of the Seneca Nation, which is said to be the most interesting historical relic in the Genesee Valley. It was first erected about eighteen miles south of Glen Iris, at Caneadea (Go‑a-­ya‑de‑o,), the most southerly of the Seneca villages on the Genesee River. It was built some time before the American Revolution, and is doubtless the oldest building of its class in the State. Abandoned by the Indians soon after the sale of the last of their Genesee lands, deserted as a residence by the white owner in later years, this dilapidated relic was brought to Glen Iris in I871 and re-erected in its original form the following year. On the first day of October, 1872, the council fire was again lighted within its walls, and representatives of the Seneca and the Mohawks here then shook hands in friendship, after these two nations bad been separated by a spirit of enmity for more than fifty years. It was the goal designated for Major Moses Van Campen and Captain Horatio Jones when in captivity they were compelled to run the gauntlet; and under its roof Mary Jemison, "The White Captive, of the Genesee," rested when on her journey from Ohio to the Genesee Valley.

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Mary Jemison

            In a bronze statue placed on a pedestal at the head of her grave near the Council House, the white captive is represented on this journey of about six hundred miles, carrying her infant son on her back. The inscriptions on the base of the monument include the one that was on the marble slab that marked her grave on the Buffalo Creek Reservation.

            Mary Jemison was born on the ocean in 1742 or 1743, when her parents were making the voyage from Belfast, Ireland, to Philadelphia, Pa. After residing for a dozen years or more in Adams County in southeastern Pennsylvania, the family, -with the exception of two sons who escaped, ‑were captured by a party of Shawnee Indians and Frenchmen, and Mary was the only captive member of the family whose life was spared. At Fort Du Quesne, whither she was taken, she was given to two squaws who lived .about eighty miles farther down the Ohio River. She was adopted as a sister by these Indian women, and later was married to a Delaware Indian named She-nin-jee. Before she was twenty years of age, she made the memorable journey with members of her adoptive family to the Seneca village of Little Beard's Town, near Cuylerville, on the Genesee River. Two or three years after the death of her first husband she married Hiokatoo, a Seneca Indian, by whom she had six children. At the "Big Tree Council," held at Geneseo in 1797, she was granted nearly 18,000 acres of land in the Genesee Valley, known as the Gardeau Tract, where she had lived since Sullivan's raid upon the Genesee Valley in 1779, and where she remained until 1831, when she moved to the Buffalo Creek Reservation, two years before her death.

          Her body was buried in the Indian Mission burying ground on the reservation; but some years after, when the city of Buffalo threatened encroachment upon the little cemetery, Dr. Letchworth was persuaded to allow her remains to be re-interred on the Council House grounds, which are but a few miles from the home where most of her life was spent. On March 7, 1874, the remains, in charge of her grandson, James Shongo, were placed in the new grave, and the monument that now forms the base of the statue was then erected. It was Dr. Ietchworth's intention to complete the memorial soon, but, absorbed in his charity work, it was not until impaired health limited his activities that he could give the necessary attention to this work, and only a few months before his death the statue was completed. The sculptor, Mr. Henry K. Bush-Brown, spared no pains in making researches and studying his subject, and produced a work of art which our State Archeologist, Professor Arthur C. Parker, pronounced one of the most accurate studies of  New York ethnology that he had ever seen. The impressive ceremonies in connection with the unveiling of the statue were conducted under the auspices of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society on the 19th of September, 1910 -the anniversary of Mary Jemison's death. A complete account of the ceremonies is contained in the Sixteenth Annual Report of the Society.

         The log cabin on these grounds was built by Mary Jemison for her daughter Nancy about the year 1800. It was presented to Dr. Ietchworth by John  Olmsted of LeRoy, N.Y. who later owned the property on which it stood. It was moved to these grounds in 1880. Along the left bank of the river between Glen Iris and the Lower Falls, there are other historic objects, and a variety of grand and beautiful scenery.

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The Portage Group 

On an interesting rock exposure by the roadside, below the Swiss chalet, there was placed in 1908 a bronze tablet to the memory of Professor J ames Hall, who was the State Geologist for more than sixty years, and who made a particular study of the rock formation in the Fourth Geological District. The tablet bear the following inscription:


State Geologist of New York 1837-1898
Established in this Fourth Geological District
the Classification of a large part of the New York System of Geological Formations
Which gave enduring repute to the Geology of New York.
This Gorge exhibits the typical expression of Hall's Portage Group
whose rocks carry an assemblage of organic remains most widely diffused throughout the world.
This tablet has been erected by
Charles D. Walcott, Secretary Smithsonian Institution. John J. Stevenson, Professor Geology N. Y. University.
John C. Smock, Com'r Geological Survey of New Jersey. Charles Schuchert, Professor Geology Yale University
.John M. Clarke, N. Y. State Geologist.

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Soldiers' Monument

A few rods farther on, at the top of the hill, where the road divides-one branch turning -towards Castile and the other continuing along the river bank-there has recently been placed the Soldiers' Monument, which was first erected in 1903 near Erie Portage Station, in Livingston County, by the survivors of the First New York Dragoons. This regiment was recruited mainly from Wyoming, Livingston and Allegany counties. It was organized at Portage in August, 1862, as the One Hundred and Thirtieth New York Volunteer Infantry; but after one year of service on foot the regiment was transferred to the cavalry branch of the service under the title of the First New York Dragoons. At the request of the veterans, the monument was moved to its present location. The site, near the entrance to the park, is also but a short distance from Inspiration Point and Cole's Cliff, where a view of the "Camp Ground," on the opposite bank, the rendezvous of the regiment before going to the front, is plainly seen.

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Remarkable Viewpoints

At Inspiration Point, above the gorge more than three hundred feet deep, there was unveiled and dedicated by the William Pryor Letchworth Memorial Association, on the ninety‑fourth anniversary of Dr. Letchworth's birth May 26, 1917, a bronze tablet calling to mind his gift to the State of New York. The last three lines of the following sonnet, written by Mrs. Pierre E. Letchworth, of Covina, California, are inscribed on the tablet:

June 8th 1909.

"Ah, ‑Nature! never hast thou thrilled me so,
As when I gazed from that great point, and saw
The wondrous valley wild, that thy sure law
Of beauty had made perfect by the flow
Of waters, falling, flashing in the glow
Like scintillate sunshine. O'er the gorge the awe
Of elemental space hung; not one raw
Sign of mankind's mistaken zeal did show.
"Where, free at home, the woodland bird did flit
Thou wert supreme in august majesty‑
All, all was thine as far as eye could see
God wrought for us this scene beyond compare,
But one man's loving hand protected it
And gave it to his fellow‑men to share."

            The view from Cole's Cliff, still a few steps farther along tile footpath leading to the Lower Falls, is one of the most inspiring on the river. ‑It is the point from which the landscape artist, Thomas Cole, painted a picture of the gorge and falls, which was presented to Governor William H. Seward.

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Natural Phenomena

            Letchworth Park affords many attractions to students of natural phenomena. Since Professor James Hall made the first survey and classification of the rocks of the western district of New York, the Portage group of rocks has been the subject of careful study by Dr. John M. Clarke, New York State Geologist; Professor H. L. Fairchild, of Rochester University, and Dr. A. W. Grabau, Professor of Paleontology at Columbia University.

            The great variety of birds and wild flowers in the park is equally attractive to ornithologists and botanists.

            The late J. N. Larned, author of "The Life and Work of William Pryor Letchworth," in writing the biography, said of Glen Iris:

            "Possibly it would be an extravagance of eulogy to say that no other spot in America has been celebrated equally to it in the fervor and the quality of the verse it has called out; yet searching criticism might uphold that suggestion, on the evidence of a collected volume of Glen Iris verse which was printed under the title of 'Voices of the Glen,' in 1876, and of which a new edition, with added poems, has been issued since Letchworth's death."

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The Arboretum

            During his residence of more than fifty years at Glen Iris Dr. Letchworth planted many native forest trees, beginning the planting soon after his initial purchase of about two hundred acres in 1859 and continuing the practice almost or quite annually until the last year of his life. Addressing, at Glen Iris, in 1875 a com- pany of representatives of the press of Western New York, Dr. Letchworth said:

            "In what little I have done here my object has been to aid Nature in her struggling efforts and, in so doing, humor her, as it were, in all her fanciful moods. The eight or nine thousand forest trees which I have planted up and down the river in this locality are nearly all indigenous to this soil, and have been planted just as the winds of heaven might have cast the seed. In the disposition of them I have endeavored to bring out pleasing contrasts of color, and throw lines of grace about outlines otherwise hard."

            In conferences with officers of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society respecting the further development of the  park, Dr. Letchworth indicated on a map of the estate certain tracts which he desired should be reforested.

            In 1909 the Hon. Charles M. Dow, one of the Trustees of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society and now Director of the park, visited the Orient. In the garden of the Emperor of Korea, which is in striking contrast to that tree denuded country, the re-foresting of the farm lands and open spaces in Letchworth Park began to assume in Dr. Dow's mind the form of an arboretum, and in the interest of the park he journeyed to the island of Java to visit the Botanic Gardens of Buitenzorg. These gardens were established with a view to developing latent resources of the Dutch East Indies by affording an opportunity to study with facility their food and medicinal trees and plant life. The method of administration, which is the result of a century and a half of experience, was carefully observed, and lessons which have been practically applied in establishing the Letchworth Park Arboretum were furnished in the beautiful, useful and scientifically administered Buitenzorg Gardens. The botanical gardens and arboretums of other foreign countries that were visited also supplied valuable hints and suggestions. From extended observation and careful consideration there grew the idea of an arboretum unique--an arboretum of forest trees. Different soils and elevations and exposures of land surfaces in Letchworth Park offered encouragement to the materialization of the idea.

            Briefly defined, an arboretum is a tree-garden, the trees and shrubs of which are cultivated for scientific purposes. It differs from a school of forestry in that it does not necessarily take into consideration lumbering operations. 'Unlike a botanical garden, it does not properly include the smaller forms of vegetable growth; and it is not one of its functions to raise young stock for distribution, as is done in nurseries, although surplus stock is somewhat distributed for educational purposes.

            In the arboretums previously established the trees and shrubs, arranged in accordance with a natural likeness or with reference to their uses or upon some other principle, have been planted singly or in small groups, facilitating their study and producing charming effects - but such an arrangement does not solve the problems which confront the practical forester, for the development of trees in the open or in small groups is entirely different from their growth in the forest. With the increasing interest in recent years in the conservation of our natural resources and the re-foresting of denuded areas has come the need of practical demonstrations in the growing of forest trees. Such object lessons the Letchworth Park Arboretum will furnish; and the forest student, the farmer without a wood-lot or whose land includes unproductive hillsides, the man, woman Or association interested in the growing of forest trees under natural conditions, will here find a rare field for observation and study.

            Respecting the function of the Letchworth Park Arboretum, the Director of the park says:

            "The principle upon which the Letchworth Park Arboretum is established is that it shall consist of a permanent collection of the various species of the world's timber trees likely to thrive ill this northern climate, planted scientifically, to test their value and illustrate the processes of development, so supplying not only knowledge for knowledge's sake, but also knowledge for practical use.

"It is intended that the value to the State and the Nation of the arboretum will not consist merely in a demonstration, clear to every eye, of the results which may be expected from forest plantations of many different kinds of trees. The possibilities of the arboretum for extending exact knowledge of tree growth will also be fully developed. . . . The growth of the trees will be measured periodically, their liability to disease will be noted, and their capacity for seed-bearing; their behavior in pure stands and in mixture, their influence upon the forest floor, and other practical considerations bearing upon their value for commercial tree-plant ing, will be carefully observed and recorded. By this means the Letchworth Park Arboretum will aid materially in laying an exact scientific basis for the successful extension of practical forestry in the United States. Every step will be taken, not only to insure results of the highest scientific value from forest work at Letchworth Park, but also to develop its usefulness as an object lesson to all park visitors."

            In the selection of a forester the custodian society considered itself fortunate in securing the services of the late Overton AV. Price, of Washington, D. C., who was a graduate of the Forest School at Munich, Bavaria, and who had been for nearly ten years Assistant Forester of the United States. Mr. George B. Sudworth, Dendrologist of the United States Forest Service, accompanied Mr. Price upon visits to the park and rendered valuable assistance by his advice. Upon the death of Mr. Price in 1914 Mr. Sudworth was appointed forester.

            The first tree of the Arboretum was planted May 9, 1912. Planting was continued until June 3, when upwards of 100,000 trees had been set out on fifty acres of land. The number of species represented was fifty-five, of which thirty were broad leaved and twenty-five were conifers. The trees, obtained from leading nurseries in this country and in Europe, were planted in blocks varying in size from less than an acre to several acres in extent.

            After the first season's planting it was decided to raise from seeds the trees necessary to carry on the re-foresting of the park. The nursery, where the seeds are sown, is an interesting feature of the arboretum work, for here the earliest stages in the development of native and foreign forest trees may be observed-from the germination of the seeds to the removal of the plants to the Arboretum. Many seeds have been sown since 1912, increasing the variety of tree species, and a large number of seedlings have been transferred from nursery rows to the field.

As time goes on, improvement thinnings will be made, in order that inferior trees may not interfere with the growth of those that promise the greatest results. In the developments of the future the entire park will be planted as in arboretum. Roads and paths will wind through the forest to the different groups of trees, and tablets will be placed giving the scientific and common names of the specimens. All of the important native and foreign trees that will thrive in this locality will be made conveniently accessible for purposes of observation and study to visitors to Letchworth Park. Without in the least interfering with the forest feature of the Arboretum, trees and shrubs will be planted singly and in groups along the roads and paths of the park for ornamental effects.

            An incentive to the planting of forest trees lies in the fact that they serve many generations, for they become not only the largest but the oldest living things Writing only a few years ago of the giant sequoias, which attain a height of more than three hundred feet and a diameter of more than thirty feet, the late John Muir said: "Thousands of them still living had already counted their years by tens of centuries when Columbus set sail from Spain, and were in the vigor of youth or middle age when the star led the Chaldean sages to the infant Saviour's cradle."

            It is the intention to provide at Letchworth Park increased opportunities to study individually and relatively not only trees, but various subjects in the book of nature, including animal life as related to the plant life of the forest. The Arboretum will afford many attractions to the native birds, bees, and arboreal mammals. The squirrels will find an abundance of walnuts, butternuts, chestnuts and acorns to store up for winter use. The honey bees, whose marvelous ways are not yet fully understood, and who still prefer the trees of the forest for their homes to any of the convenient apartments provided for them by man, will find in the numerous linden trees their choicest food. Hundreds of mulberry trees have been planted, the fruit of which ripens continuously throughout four months of the year and is greatly liked by the birds.

            It is at the expense of a good deal of watchfulness and anxiety that the wild life of a park is preserved, but there is encouragement for the future in a recent statement of one of our foremost conservationists. who says,

            "We are fast learning that trees must not be cut down more rapidly thin they are replaced; we have taken forward steps in learning that wild beasts and birds are by right not the property merely of the people alive to-day, but the property of unborn generations, whose belongings we have no right to squander, and there are even faint signs of our growing to understand that wild flowers should be enjoyed unplucked where they grow, and that it is barbarism to ravage the woods and fields, rooting out the mayflower and breaking branches of dogwood as ornaments for automobiles filled with jovial but ignorant picnickers."

            It is only eight years since the Arboretum was established, but there is already evidence that it will add to an inspiring pleasure ground a feature of great practical value.

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Letchworth Park Committee

            The committee of the Board of Trustees of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society having special charge of the administration of Letchworth Park is composed of Mr. Wolcott J. Humphrey of Warsaw, Chairman; Charles M. Dow, LL. D., of Jamestown, Director ; Hon. Herbert L. Bridgman of New York, Hon. Thomas P. Kingsford of Oswego, Mr. Edward H Letchworth of Buffalo, Mr. Ogden Pearl Letchworth of New York, Hon. Adelbert Moot of Buffalo, Capt. N. Taylor Phillips of New York, Hon. Robert H. Treman of Ithaca and Charles Delamater Vail, L. H. D., of Geneva.

            The Superintendent is John P. Lingenfelter, and the Librarian and Curator of Museum is Miss Caroline Bishop.

Maintenance in 1919

            During the year 1919 the Society expended $13,722.05 of State funds and $1,362.07 of Society funds on the park. A great deal of the work consisted of necessary but uninteresting details which need not be mentioned particularly. It included the removal of dead trees and stumps, the repair and honing of roads, the renewal of the covers to the culverts, the relaying of stone walls, the care of the lawns, the repair of buildings, the laying of new water pipe in place of old, the erection of guide-boards , the filling of the ice-house, and farming operations, including the planting of twenty- three acres with wheat.

            In March, 1919, about two hundred feet of guard rail, three rails high, was constructed of hewn posts at the western end of the park; 250 feet along the walls of the Upper Falls, and fifty feet near Pilgrim rock and the Lower Falls pool; and 150 feet of iron guard rail was removed from the turn at the Upper Falls and replaced with four-foot rail fence.

            The Arboretum and Nursery, an important feature of the park, received much attention. They did not suffer from freezing in the winter of 1918-1919 and the spring of 1919 found them in good condition. The distribution of the poison formula for the extermination of mice prevented much damage from those rodents, but rabbits were perniciously active, and in January and February rabbit hunts resulted in the capture of fifty-six of these animals

            During the first half of 1919 approximately fifteen acres were planted with 20,000 trees. They included 8,000 conifers in the old apple orchard, 694 deciduous and 2,107 conifers in the front portion of the Bishop lot; 5,000 Austrian pine and 1,000 arbor vitae on the driveway west of the Erie railroad bridge, and 800 pine in a wet piece of land near the little flag station of the .railroad.

Hemlocks, plants from the nursery and trees from the old forest were planted along the old turn at the Upper Falls and 300 evergreens and hardwoods in the border along the road leading down the hill to the Erie railroad bridge.

            In June ninety-five seed-beds were planted.

            The fall planting was commenced on September 10, 1919, and by the end of the month 30,412 trees had been planted in blocks Nos. 47, 50, 51 and 52.

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Forest Fire

            On July 4, 1919 two fires were discovered in the Arboretum by the Superintendent as he was making his rounds of the park, one, about 2 p. m. and the other about 6 p. m. Workmen were immediately summoned and the fires extinguished as soon as possible, but not until 787 trees, nearly every tree in block No. 37, on the right side of the path leading from the main highway to the Erie rail-road flag station, were destroyed. The trees were planted in 1915. It appearing that the fires were started by sparks from the engines of the Erie railroad, representations were made to the United States Railroad Administration with the result that the claim for damages was settled for $500. Although the trees were planted with private funds of this Society and not with State funds, the money was subsequently remitted to the State Treasurer.  In October the ground was replanted with red pine.

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Glen Iris 

            The Glen Iris house was opened to the public on May 18 and closed October 14. The entertainment of the public was again managed by Charles Baeder of Geneseo, under the direction of the Society. While we have no means of accurately counting the number of visitors, there were manifestly more automobiles and persons in the park in 1919, than in 1918. The lodging accommodations were used to a greater extent than in the previous year; there were frequently as many guests at the mid-day and: evening meals as could possibly be accommodated; and an unusually large number of people used the picnic grounds. The total number of meals served at the Glen Iris mansion was about 8,000, and the total number of lodgers  was about 1,600. More than thirty applicants for lodgings were turned away on the average every Saturday night. There were about 8OO automobiles a week in the park on the average. On one Sunday there were 500.

            On May 26, 1919, a joint meeting was hold by the William Pryor Letchworth Memorial Association and the, Genesee County Historical Federation, composed of about twenty historical societies. It was the sixth annual meeting of the Letchworth Memorial Association. In the morning the societies met separately. In the afternoon they met jointly, when Rev. George D. Miller offered prayer; Miss Caroline Bishop gave the address of welcome; Dr. George B. Sudworth, our Dendrologist, spoke on "A Great Heritage," referring particularly to the great value of the park  which William Pryor Letchworth gave to the people of the State; Dr. James Sullivan, State Historian, delivered an address, "Our Immigrants Past and Present"; and brief talks were made by Mr. Edward G. Hayes of Canandaigua and Mrs. Frank F. Dow, Mr. Harvey F. Remington and Mr. Charles H. Wiltsie.

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Museum Accessions

            During the summer of 1919 a collection of bird pictures and a variety of nests were placed in the side cases in the Natural Science room of the museum and attracted a great deal of attention.

            In July, 1919 Mrs. Julia G. Fuller, eldest daughter of Col. George Williams, and wife of Mr. Willis H. Fuller, presented to the museum a settee or couch that was made for Hornby Lodge, or Johnson Lodge, referred to by Gov. William H. Seward in his Autobiography. (See quotation in our Annual report for 1907, page 160.) Mrs. Fuller's father owned large tracts of land this vicinity, one tract including the site on which Hornby Lodge was located. The promontory on which the lodge stood is on the right bank of the river directly opposite Inspiration Point. When the Genesee Valley Canal was constructed,  Mr. Elisha Johnson of Rochester had the contract to build a tunnel to convey the water through this promontory, and he built the lodge for his family residence while superintending the work. In an article written in l894: by Mr. John S. Minard for the Rochester Post-Express the structure is described as follows:

            "Each corner of what would otherwise have been a square house, was cut off and wings projected there from each having a door opening into the large room, which, as a result, was an octagon, and in the center, and utilized as a support for the timbers of the floors of the upper rooms and the roof, which were framed into it, stood a large oak tree. Only the lower large room was octagonal, the upper rooms of the main structure being left rectangular. The upper or second story was left square, the corners projecting over the rooms in the wings below. . . .

            "The upper rooms were reached by a -winding stairway nicely fitted to the central support, the large oak tree, and led to the top of the observatory. Around the base of the tree was arranged a cabinet of geological specimens and other natural curiosities, mostly peculiar to the immediate vicinity."

            As Mr. Johnson was an ardent Whig and built his house in the year of the Harrison and Van Buren campaign, he constructed it of logs. It was three stories in height besides the observatory.

            The furniture was also rustic, being made from the branches of the forest trees. The head and foot pieces of the settee which Mrs. Fuller gave the Museum are sections of logs- one twelve inches and the other nine inches in diameter. The smaller one is about twenty-eight inches long, the other has been cut off, evidently to fit the sides of a projecting angle in the room. Holes are bored in the logs into which sharpened sticks three inches in diameter are fitted, raising the bed to a height of fifteen inches from the floor. There are four holes in the larger end piece, but two of the supports are missing. Boards 11/2 inches thick and 41/2 feet long connect the end pieces, forming the foundation of a bed made of hay or straw held in place by a piece of muslin tacked to the boards. The outer covering has been removed.

            The plan of building a tunnel was abandoned, owing to the character of the rock and other material, and in lS49 the lodge was removed, it having been seriously damaged by falling stones thrown high in the air by blasting away the rock to make a passage around instead of through the promontory.

            Mr. William Hornby for whom Mr. Johnson named the lodge, was the English proprietor of the Cottringer Tract.

            In different descriptions of the lodge one author calls the tree which was in the center of the building an oak, another a pine and another a hickory.

            The American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society makes grateful acknowledgment of the interesting donation by Mrs. Fuller.

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Life of Mary Jemison

During the past year there has been a steady demand for copies of the twentieth edition of "'The Life of Mary Jemison, the White Woman of the Genesee," by James Everett Seaver, revised by Charles Delamater LL.D.  Professor of English Literature at Hobart College. This book of 475 pages of text (pagination a to t, i to xvi, and 17 to 453) and numerous illustrations, has manifestly taken its place in American literature as a definitive edition of this remarkable history of Indian captivity and frontier life in Western New York.

            To the acknowledgment already made in the book to Mr. Elmer Adler of Rochester, bibliophile and collector of data concerning Mary Jemison for his cooperation with the editor, the Society adds its particular thanks for his contribution of plates from which are printed the facsimiles of the title-pages of the first, third and fifth editions, and the facsimile of the engraving representing the capture of the Jemison family by the Indians, from the fifth edition, which appear in the book, and which ire made from copies of these editions in his remarkable collection.

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Meteorological Report

            Following is a record of the meteorological conditions at Letch- worth Park for the year ended December 31, 1919, as observed at the United States Meteorological Station established in the park at Lauterbrunnen, at an elevation of 1,260 feet above sea level:

                                                 Jan.      Feb.     Mar.    April    May     June  

Mean maximum temperature         39.7    36.0    47.1    54.8    66.3    83.0   

Mean minimum temperature          15.7    17.8    20.9    29.0    40.5    54.0   

Mean temperature                           27.7    26.9    34.0    41.9    53.4    68,5   

Maximum temperature                    58.0    55.0    73.0    75.0    87.0    93.0

Minimum temperature                    -5.0     2.0       -1.0     5.0       29.0    35.0

Precipitation, inches                        1.9       0.31    1.83    3.69    8.39    20.5

Days over .01 in. precipitation         4          3          11       11       14       6

Days clear                                          13       9          16       11       16       27      

Days partly cloudy                            8          8          1          6          7          2         

Days cloudy                                       10       11       14       13       8          1

Snow fall, inches                                6          8          13.4    4.5       ....         ....


                                                         July     Aug.     Sept.    Oct.      -Nov.   Dec.

Mean maximum ...                          84.3    77.7    *          61.5    47.3    31.3

Mean minimum temperature          53.4    50.6    *          43.7    29.3    11. 1;

Mean temperature                           68.8    64.2    *          54.1    38.3    21.-1

Maimum temperature                      94.0    88.10  88.0    87.0    67.0    57. 1)

Minimum temperature                    39.0    40.0    *          28.0    18.0    -17.0

Precipitation, inches                         3.06    4.46    1.32    3.41    1. 11   1.19

Days over .01 in. precipitation. .      6          10       4          9          7          7

Days clear                                          23       19       20       15       5          7

Days partly cloudy                            6          9          5          9          7          5

Days cloudy                                       2          3          5          7          18       19

Snow fall, inches                                                                                1          8.5


* The record for September is incomplete owing to the fact that one of the instruments was out of order and there was delay in getting another front the Government.

            January. One or two cold periods in first half of month but generally very mild. Ground partly covered with snow.  Roads in very bad condition. Prevailing wind from the west.

            February. Robins seen on the 15th. Harvesting first ice of the winter, 13 to 14 inches thick. Roads very bad. Snow squalls. Temperature above zero.  Prevailing wind from the west.

            March. Geese traveling north on 1st. Ice in river broke up and went out on 1st. River very high and muddy. Summer birds returned.

            April. Very wet month - much rain; river very high and roads bad. Temperature very mild.  Forest trees putting forth summer leafage and in fine condition.

            May. Forty-eight hours' continuous rain on 9th and 10th making river very high. All agricultural work backward. Wild flowers in full bloom in the forest.

            June. Very hot and dry. Not much rain. Forest trees and grass show lack of moisture. Thunder storms on 4th, 6th and 16th.

            July. Hot and dry retarding crops, which do not look very promising except grass, which looks very good. Very strong west winds on 27th, 28th and 30th.

            August. Hot and dry until 17th, when drought was broken by severe electric storm accompanied by violent winds Farmers harvesting spring wheat and oats; crops very short.

            September. Weather very favorable for agricultural work. Farmers busy preparing land for fall wheat. Crops looking very good.

            October. First ice of winter formed on 8th. First killing frost on the 8th and 13th. All streams very low. Chestnuts abundant in Western New York

            November. Mild and pleasant month except for heavy west winds on 29th and 30th. Frequent snow flurries, but snow soon melted sleet on 26th.

            December. Not much rain. Frequent snow squalls covered round slightly most of the month, temperature going down to 1 degree below zero on 17th. All roads in good condition.

            In January and February, 1920, much snow fell and on the 1st of February, 1920, was 21 inches deep on the level. During this period the pheasants in the park had difficulty in getting natural food, and food was distributed for them near their feeding grounds. As many as ten or twelve pheasants would be seen at a time. 

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Letchworth Legacy

            The Letchworth Legacy consists of the cash and securities which, with the physical property, constituted the residuary estate left to the Society by the late William Pryor Letchworth donor of Letchworth Park. It is applicable exclusively to the maintenance and improvement of Letchworth Park. As this fund belongs to the Society, its accounting for the year 1919 is given with that of other  Society funds at page 25 of this Report.

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Helen Hall Vail

The Helen Hall Vail Fund consists of the money given by Mrs. Charles Delamater Vail born Helen Hall for the publication of the twentieth edition of "The Life of Mary Jemison." As this fund belongs to the Society, its accounting is given with that of other Society funds at page 27 of this report.

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