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

Painting of Portage Falls by Thomas Cole

Copy of Thomas Cole's Painting of Portage Falls and Hornby Lodge

click here for details of Hornby Lodge and Middle Falls

In 1841 Thomas Cole, the famous American landscape artist, came to the area to paint the magnificent scenery of the Portage Falls. He captured the rugged natural beauty of the gorge a decade before it was altered forever when a ledge was blasted from the cliff for the Genesee Valley Canal. (Compare the painting with Image 24 in our Historic Photo Album.)

This work was commissioned by William Seward, and still hangs today in the Seward Mansion in Auburn NY.



The remarkable structure know as Hornby Lodge crowns the top of the Portage Cliff, towering over the Middle Falls and its small settlement.

For more information on the Lodge, see our Glimpse of Hornby Lodge.


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