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


A Stereo Postcard Tour of the Park

There are a variety of stereoscopic and postcard views on our website. In the early 20th century some photographers published a combination of the two - stereo postcards that allowed folks to enjoy a 3-D view on a card that could be easily and cheaply sent through the mail. One such photographer was William E. Burnell (1880-1961) who had studios in Pike and Silver Springs before World War I.

Stereo postcards were the same size as regular postcards, making them almost two inches shorter than the actual stereoviews. That meant they didn't fit in the stereo viewers that were common in households at the time. On many of his stereo postcards Burnell added the following statement: "You cannot appreciate the beauty of our stereo cards without the use of stereoscope. Place ordinary stereo view in scope then place card against it."

Here are images of stereo postcards from Burnell's "Portage Series" published before 1915. It appears there are at least 12 cards in the series but we only have six. If you have other cards from the series we would appreciate your sharing it with us (we will give you credit of course!) Below each card is the card number and Burnell's label in bold. We have added a brief description of the view.

1 Entrance Letchworth Park

Mr. Letchworth's main gates in front of what is now Pinewood Lodge. They were found to be too narrow for more than one automobile and were eventually removed.

3 Upper Falls

Classic view of the Portage Iron Bridge built in 1875, the second of three bridges to carry the railroad above the falls.

7 Upper Falls, Flood

10 Gorge Below Middle Falls

View from near the main gates looking north. The debris on the east bank of the gorge is the from the work that created the ledge seen on the upper right. The Genesee Valley Canal that once located on that ledge, but by the time this view was made the Pennsylvania Railroad ran there. It is now Trail #7. Inspiration point is visible in the distance.

11 Middle Falls

Trail leading to the Middle Falls is visible, this is now part of Trail #1.

12 (No additional title)

These stairs may be the on the trail between Inspiration Point and the Lower Falls.


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