We are often fascinated by the places we visit and seek to keep some evidence of the place to remind us of the occasion or even to display to others where we have been. This habit of people has been recognized over the years and resulted in many items showing up in the gift shops of Letchworth State Park.
The first "reminders" came from Mr. Letchworth himself. Local families treasure items present by Letchworth such as the spoons that he gave the school children at the Letchworth School. He also presented mounted photographs of the Glen Iris and of himself to his friends and special acquaintances.
Later he utilized the postcards available at the first museum on the Council Grounds to let his friends and neighbors know he was thinking of them on a special occasions:
La Vern Hills was a twelve year old boy who lived with the Weidwright family on the Lower Falls Road. Marion Lee had turned thirteen when she received the special birthday greetings from Mr. Letchworth. The daughter of Henry Lee, she was the older sister of the local author, Mildred Lee Hills Anderson. Mildred would eventually marry La Vern Hills.
He had also made arrangements to sell various souvenirs at the Council Grounds. Both the items below come from the time period before Letchworth Park was established and are labeled "Indian Council House". The top item has a mirror on the back, the bottom is a knife made out of an early plastic type material. The knife is about 7" long. Items crafted by Seneca from local reservations were also sold.
Even after Mr. Letchworth's was gone, many of the items sold were hand made. The hand carved souvenir found below is dated 1936 and is 9 " long. The Indian birch bark canoe came in many sizes, this one being only 6" long. The bell is reminiscent of the Swiss cow bells that Mr. Letchworth had for his prized herds.
Plates, trays and trivets have also been popular souvenirs. The plate showing the Portage Bridge and Upper Falls is 7" wide. The smaller plate is actually an ashtray. They are not dated, but the ashtray is labeled "Exclusive for A.B. Davis, Glen Iris Inn, Castile, N.Y." The small metal tray shows a picture of the Council Grounds from the late 1940's or early 1950's.
Also see Souvenirs from the Council Grounds and A Souvenir Booklet of Letchworth Park