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

 

Visits to Letchworth State Park

Since 1907 generations of visitors have come to Letchworth State Park. It was, as it is now, customary to take photographs of their visits that would serve as personal reminders of a wonderful time. These images now serve another purpose - they document both the changes and continuities of 20th century tourism in the Park.

This page consists of groups of photographs that were taken by tourists in Letchworth State Park in the 1900s. Some include the date and the names but many were found in piles of snapshots at antique shops and flea markets and were not labeled.

Additional tourist photos of the Park can be found in our Letchworth Park Memories section and other places on this website.

 

This wonderful group of photographs was shared by Carolyn Swanton of Rochester NY. They were probably taken around 1924 on a trip to Park by the Wray family of Rush , New York. Among them was young Charles Wray (1919-1985). This might have been his first visit to the Park but it certainly was not his last - in the early 1980s the Park's we had the pleasure of meeting him when we invited him to Letchworth and the Park Museum to discuss the Native American artifact collection. (See an article detailing the life and work of archaeologist Charles F Wray. For more information on the Wray family, see an article written by Carolyn for the Mt Hope Cemetery newsletter, "The Epitaph" )

The photograph above is labeled "Letchworth Park Museum Delos Wray Sr/ & Charles Wray II". It was taken on the edge of the south lawn of the Glen Iris looking north. Mr. Wray and his son are standing in the main roadway, with the Museum behind them. To the right of the image, almost hidden in some trees, is the Glen Iris. We have enlarged a section of the photograph to the left.
The image to the right was taken from near the Glen Iris looking across the lawn to the Museum. It may have been taken the same day, but note there are cars in a parking lot to the south (left) of the Museum that are not visible in the photograph above. A label on the identifies this boy as "Delos Wray Jr."

Above: Looking down river from the west bank above the Middle Falls. Note the iron railing that had been installed for visitor safety. Similar railings were also found at the Lower Falls area. The railing was removed during the Civilian Conservation Corps era in the 1930s. The Slide are is also visible in the distance.

Below: This shot of the Middle Falls was probably taken from the front lawn of the Glen Iris.

Left: The Glen Iris from the driveway. Again, we are not sure if this is taken at the same time as the above photographs.

Below: An interior view of what may be the small dining room in the Glen Iris. This was said to be Mr. Letchworth's dining area, Note the table settings for guests. Many of the items were from Mr. Letchworth's days, but others were probably added by innkeepers. This may have been taken as late as the 1950s.

The last two images were taken of the gorge. Below left: This view is taking looking down river from the roadway in front of Pinewood Lodge. Inspiration Point is located in the center of the photograph. This might have been taken by the Wray family on a later visit to the Park. Below right: Much has changed since this photograph was taken. The Mt. Morris Dam is now located in this part of the gorge. As we look at this picture we have to keep in mind a couple of important facts - this part of the Valley, known as the High Banks, was not part of the Park when the Wray Family visited in the 1920s. It also wasn't easy to travel from the Highbanks to Letchworth Park in those days - the Park road wasn't built until the 1930s. The Wrays would have had to travel on several rural roads to go between the two scenic attractions.

Again, we thank Carolyn Swanton for sharing this wonderful photos with us!

Return to "Pieces" Index Return to Table of Contents

All rights reserved by Tom Cook & Tom Breslin