ASSOCIATION OF RETIRED CONSERVATION SERVICE EMPLOYEES (ARCSE)

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Letchworth State Park

Thanks to the New York State Office of Parks - Recreation - Historic Preservation, and especially to Leonora Brown for the information shown here.

 

 

The Genesee River roars over three major waterfalls between cliffs as high as 600 feet and is surrounded by lush forests in Letchworth State Park.   The Seneca Indians called the area Seh-ga-hun-da, the "Vale of the Three Falls."   In 1859, William Pryor Letchworth purchased about 1000 acres of land along the Genesee and restored it to scenic splendor.   In 1907, he donated the land to the state of New York, and upon his death in 1910 Letchworth State Park was born.   The park now contains 14,350 acres.

 

Park amenities got a big boost during the era of the "New Deal."   The footpath and footbridge shown here, below the lower falls, was built by the CCC boys of Company 201.

 

 

The boys from Company 201 at work on the footbridge.

 

Company 201at Lower Falls Camp #49 SP-49 1935 through 1941

 

Company 228 at Great Bend Camp #23 SP-5 1933 through 1935. This was the first camp in the park. In 1935 this camp was converted to a Works Project Administration Camp for unemployed heads of households who were on relief (including women).   The average age was 40 and the men worked on construction projects such as roads and public buildings while the women worked on sewing projects for hospitals and orphanages.

 

Company 213 at Gibsonville Camp #40 SP-17 1933 through 1937. For 6 months in 1937 it was an African American camp.

 

Company 264 at St. Helena Camp #76 SP-37 1934 through 1936. In the 1800's, the village of St. Helena stood where the St. Helena picnic grounds are now.   It was a prosperous community, which boasted two major streets, a fine bridge, twenty-five dwellings, five mills and a large inn.   When the Genessee Valley Canal stopped operating in 1878 and the railroads bypassed the town, it slowly faded away.

 

An aside:    When the Erie Canal was completed in 1825, people began to dream of a canal that would link the Erie Canal at Rochester south to the Allegany River.   When finished in 1862, the Genessee Valley Canal stretched 124 miles and had 106 locks to handle the nearly 1000 foot lift between the two points.   In its 16 year lifespan, it hauled thousands of tons of forest products and manufactured goods, and communities along the route prospered.

What a beautiful park!!!    (pictures courtesy of Danielle Epolito and Jessica Pacos)

 

 

Gilbert Lake State Park

Thanks to the New York State Office of Parks - Recreation - Historic Preservation, and especially to staff of Gilbert State Park.

 

 

 

The boys cut down trees and sawed them into logs.

 

They milled the logs.

 

.. and used the lumber to build the cabins and other buildings.

 

They built a nice swimming area and bath house.

 

 

 

During the winter months, the boys harvested ice from the lake.

 

 

 

Last updated Jan 5, 2008 by Owen P. Lee