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wishes to preserve the falls in perpetuity and in their original splendor for the benefit of the public.
While still in doubt as to what he should best do, he learned of the work of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society of New York City, in protecting Niagara Falls and the Palisades, and in the purchase and improvement, through State funds, of Stony Point and Watkins Glen, the society having become the custodian of the two latter reservations. Entering into communication with the trustees of the society, of which Dr. George F. Kunz is president, and Edward Hagaman Hall the executive secretary, he held several conferences with a committee from the board of trustees, the result of which was his decision to give the property to the State as a public park, retaining forhimself a life use and tenancy, with the right to make further improvements at his own expense, the custody of the property after his death to pass into the hands of the American Scenic Society, which should have the full control and management of it.
Matters had reached this stage just before the Christmas holidays in 1906. The proposed gift was then made known to Governor Hughes, who in his message on January 1, specially recommended that the proper legislation be undertaken at once. A bill providing for the acceptance of the gift was introduced, but it encountered opposition that resulted in an amendment eliminating the American Scenic Society as the eventual custodian of the estate. From this amendment
A BIT OF ROADWAY IN LETCHWORTH PARK.
serious danger was threatened to the property in the future, because power companies, through new legislation and permission from State officials, might be able, in spite of the gift, to acquire the right to dam the stream above the falls. "With all due respect," wrote Mr. Letchworth to a friend in Albany, "I cannot accept the amended bill, but must regard a vote
for it as a vote not to
accept the gift." A few days later the objectionable amendment. was stricken out, and the original bill passed. The name of the park was then changed by the Legislature from Glen Iris to Letchworth Park, "to commemorate the humane and noble work in private and public charities to which his (Mr. Letchworth's) life has been devoted, and in recognition of his eminent services to the people of the State."
A visitor to Letchworth Park, as it now exists, would probably
approach it from Portageville, a little station on that line of the Erie Railway which runs from Hornellsville to Buffalo. Portageville stands at one end of the famous Portage Bridge over the Genesee gorge. This bridge is 800 feet long and 234 feet high, and has been familiar in many photographs and engravings. After walking across the bridge the visitor enters Mr. Letchworth's domain by descent of a stairway and thence may drive or walk along a well-constructed winding roadway through the virgin forest until, at a distance of about a mile, he reaches a stone gateway through which he passes to the doorway of Mr. Letchworth's home. This house fronts on the canyon, and overlooks the middle, or larger, of the three cascades, the walls of the canyon there rising from the base of the falls to a height of 350 feet.
A spacious lawn spreads out before the
house and reaches the brink of the chasm, with a lake at one side of it, and a fountain in the center of the lake. The visitor notes the almost tropical luxuriance of the vegetable life around him. The grass of the lawn is wonderfully thick and green; the trees, whether of maple, beech or evergreen, display a marvelous thickness of foliage and surprising symmetry of form. All this, of course, is
where in New York, and more song birds in the trees than anywhere else in the State. The waterfalls, with the rapids between them, make a combined descent of 340 feet within the park. The canyon rises in places twenty feet higher than the Palisades opposite New York City, and continues beyond the park in an impressive curve, the walls still high, but the water comparatively still, for a distance of about fourteen miles.
Soon after taking possession of his early purchases Mr. Letchworth began to make improvements, and has continued to do so down to the present time. It is estimated that his entire expenditures would make a total of half a million dollars. Before his time the marketable lumber had been cut off, leaving large tracts in a state of melancholy denudation. A saw mill existed near one of the cascades, with the usual refuse of such a place lying about it. Mr. Letchworth, in so far as was possible, restored the forest to its original condition. He laid out a public highway, parallel with the river, and built many private roads and paths in the neighborhood of his home. These improvements involved retaining walls, culverts and gateways. Several rustic arbors were also erected.
due to the constant refreshment which grass and leaves obtain from the spray rising from Maples planted by Mr. Letchworth have the waterfalls. Botanists find here a greater grown to be as large specimens of that tree variety of plant life than is to be found else- as one ever sees. They are quite the equal in
VIEW ACROSS GLEN IRIS
size of many trees planted much earlier elsewhere. Some Norway spruces have grown to a splendor of height and thickness of foliage which seem almost to imply that the original habitat of this tree was a tropical, rather than a northern, clime. In the rear of the house, but removed to one side, has been laid out a large floral garden, oval in shape, and surrounded by a hedge of evergreens, twelve or more feet high, this serving as a wind break. Within this area familiar flowers of the garden, such as roses, nasturtiums, heliotropes, geraniums, and mignonette, grow to unusual sizes. One rarely sees in England more splendid floral growths than this domain affords,-not even in Cornwall. On an elevated plateau, not far from the house, stand several interesting memorials of the Indians. One of these is a section of what is known as "the big treaty tree of 1797," which originally stood near Mount Morris. It was under this tree that Robert Morris negotiated the purchase of the lands of the Genesee Valley, the Indians reserving 18,000 acres for Mary Jemison, the famous "old white woman of the Genesee." Near the tree stands the former cabin home of
Mary Jemison, as removed from its original site further down the river, and just outside the doorway of the cabin is Mary Jemison's grave, with the monument erected over it by Mr. Letchworth.
Mary Jemison originally was buried on the Buffalo Creek reservation, but the opening of a street making necessary the removal of the body, Mr. Letchworth caused it to be taken to Glen Iris." She was the most remarkable white woman ever married to an Indian. Born on the ocean in 1742, she went as a child with her parents to western Pennsylvania, where she was made a captive by the Indians during the French War, and afterwards became the wife of Hiokatoo, a Seneca chieftain, who was the most bloodthirsty of all the Indians at the massacre of Cherry Valley. She spent forty years with Hiokatoo, and afterwards prepared her memoirs, which were published in a book that is still famous with students of that period of American history. She declared in this book that, although Hiokatoo was famous for his ferocity in war, he had uniformly treated her with tenderness; he had never once been insulting in his conduct..
Within this same part of Mr. Letch- elsewhere in the State. Mr. Letchworth worth's grounds stands a building in which he has brought together a notable collection of Indian relics, in stone and flint. It is doubtful if another collection so large as this, or so interesting in all its features, exists
has received from the Indians a name in their own language," Hai-wa-ye-is-tah," which means "The man who always does the right thing." It is not alone an Indian who can speak of him in such words as these.
BY WILLIAM H. ALLEN.
HE same week that the press of the country announced the gift of $10,000,000 for the Russell Sage Foundation the fiscal authorities of New York City added to the map of the city 7000 feet of ocean beach at Rockaway for a seaside park and sanitarium. In addition, authority was given to secure for the public in perpetuity an ocean park at Coney Island. So conventional are our ideas of benevolence that the private gift invokes news comment throughout the world, while the gift of the Atlantic Ocean to 4,000,000 of people almost escapes notice. A private donor of millions is canonized, while the benevolent motives of the public official are lost sight of in the turmoils of business and politics.
ocean beach than any other city in the world, had but a paltry thousand feet that it could call its own. He had a bill prepared authorizing the city to spend $2,500,000 for the establishment of a seaside park where millions could enjoy a respite from the monotonous shop and overheated tenement, and where private societies and the city might erect, back from the high-water mark, convalescent homes for use in winter as well as summer.
For two years the opportunity and the need had been described by the Metropolitan Parks Association, the Outdoor Recreation League, and the New York Association for Improving the Condition of the Poor. The papers took turns in featuring New York's lack of free ocean beach where it should have In January, 1906, Mayor McClellan's been beach rich. So enthusiastically was the message called attention to the fact that project supported by the public that a RepubGreater New York, with more available lican Legislature and Republican Governor