Page images

Sylvan Rapids connects on the west with Glen Cathedral. Here are the highest rocks in the Glen, the cliffs in places reaching an altitude of 178 feet. The Cathedral is about 300 feet wide and 600 feet long.

About midway in Glen Cathedral is a rock called Pulpit Rock. Commencing at a low point in the old path on the west, a flight of stairs was cut in the rock leading up to a tunnel thirty feet long, passing through the rear of Pulpit Rock and connecting with the path from the east. The path is four feet wide, cut out of the face of the rock, forty feet above the bottom of the gorge and thirty feet lower than the old path in this portion of the Glen. By the

way of this path, there is about thirty feet less climb, with a short flight of stairs at each end instead of a long flight of over fifty steps at one end. The path was also constructed so that on the east the visitor has an unobstructed view of Glen Cathedral from end to end, and upon passing through Pulpit Rock tunnel, he comes to the landing which gives a view of Central Cascade. By the old path higher up, few visitors could see Central Cascade, which is one of the best in the Glen.

At Glen Cathedral new wooden stairs were built and the upper half of the Grand Stairs rebuilt.

Glen of the Pools. At the head of Central Cascade, we built across the Gorge a reinforced concrete bridge, faced with natural stone. This marks the beginning of the Glen of the Pools. The latter is so named on account of the number of little rock basins which it contains. In this Glen, which is about an eighth of a mile long, are the Poet's Dream, Matchless Scene, Triple Cascade, Rainbow Falls, Shadow Gorge, Emerald Pool, Frowning Cliff and Pillar of Beauty. Looking east from the bridge one sees the Poet's Dream. To the westward, almost under the bridge, is the Mermaid's Pool, and still farther to the westward is the Matchless Scene.

Crossing the bridge to the south side of the gorge, we ascend a flight of concrete stairs constructed by the Society, and following the path westward about 400 feet come to Triple Cascade, so named on account of its three-fold division. West of Triple Cascade is Rainbow Falls, plunging over the south rim of the gorge

[ocr errors]

and presenting, on sunny days between one and four p. m., from one to three rainbows. Here we made a notable improvement. About 200 feet east of the Falls we built a retaining wall eight feet high and fifty feet long for the purpose of elevating and otherwise improving the path. Just west of this wall, 150 feet from the Falls, we built a flight of concrete stairs leading westward. These stairs were placed at this distance from the Falls so as to be out of the way of freshets and ice falling from the cliffs above. From the top of the stairs we made a new path to and behind the Falls. West of the Falls a flight of concrete stairs was built, leading to an arched concrete bridge spanning the gorge. By these stairs and bridge, the path on the south side of the Glen was connected with the higher path on the north side. The bridge replaced a wooden structure, and was built four feet higher than the old one for the purpose of giving a view up and down the Glen. In building this bridge, all the materials were let down from the cliff above to a rock shelf about sixty feet below the rim of the gorge, and thence relayed eighty feet still farther down, whence they were conveyed to the place of use. [See plate 3.]

Crossing the bridge to the north side of the gorge and going westward, we traverse Shadow Gorge, about 600 feet long. At the upper or western end of Shadow Gorge is Emerald Pool. Beyond this is Frowning Cliff which appears to obstruct farther progress. The corner formed by the cliff on the south side conveys the idea of human handiwork and is called the Pillar of Beauty.

Glen Arcadia. Westward of this point is Glen Arcadia, composed of the Artist's Dream, Narrow Pass, Pluto Falls, Pool of the Nymphs, Elfin Gorge and Whirlpool Gorge.

To connect Artist's Dream with Pluto Falls, we built a flight of concrete stairs. From the stairs westward for a distance of 500 feet, we excavated a path four feet wide. In constructing this path, it was necessary to let down from the top of the cliff platforms on which the men could work. When the holes were drilled for blasting, the men were hauled up to a safe place while the dynamite was exploded.

From Pluto Falls to the Whirlpool we built a concrete bridge, and from the gorge to the path above, at a point called Arcadia Falls, we built a flight of concrete stairs. At the center of these stairs, a concrete lookout affords a fine prospect across the Glen and up and down the gorge. [See plate 4.]

Two hundred feet west of the wooden stairs leading out of Whirlpool Gorge, a flight of stairs leading to the Gorge was excavated out of the rock.

Glen Facility. The section from Glen Arcadia to the New York Central Railroad Viaduct, a distance of about three-eighths of a mile, is called Glen Facility. The Viaduct is nearly a mile and a half from the entrance of the reservation, 165 feet above the water in the Glen, seventy-eight feet above the path in the Glen, and a total of 530 feet above the level at which the reservation was entered. When the Society took the custody of the Glen, the access from the path below to the top of the Viaduct was by means of narrow, crooked, and dilapidated wooden stairs, some of the treads of which were lacking and the whole of which was very insecure. Here we built a series of broad concrete stairs and landings, making the ascent safe and comfortable, with convenient resting places for observaion. The stairs are protected by the usual guard rail, consisting of a triple line of one-and-one-quarter-inch iron pipe, set upon the 'egular Glen standards leaded into the rock or concrete. In buildng these stairs, it was necessary to excavate until good rock was found, and then anchor or tie the stairs to the rock with steel.

All of the paths over which we have passed in this tour from ihe entrance to the railroad viaduct were either built anew or improved by the Society, in the latter case being widened, graded and protected with the standard guard rail.

Unim proved Portion. The unimproved portion of the Reservation west of the Railcoad Viaduct is named successively Glen Horicon, Glen Elysium and lastly Glen Omega. In Glen Horicon is the basin called the Small Punch Bowl, and in Glen Elysium is the Large Punch Bowl.

Over a Quarter of a Million Visitors. In the four and a half seasons during which the public was admitted to the Glen under our auspices, it is estimated that there were 270,000 visitors, not one of whom met with a serious accident.

Attempt to Impose Political Constraint. In the first quarter of the year, 1911, the first attempt in the sixteen years' history of the Society was made to constrain by partisan political considerations its management of affairs. This attempt first made its appearance in connection with the improvement at Cavern Cascade. For this particular piece of work the Legislature had appropriated $1,500. Bids were advertised for and three were received, amounting to $3,790, $1,325, and $4,560 respectively. We were advised by Prof. Van Pelt and the Superintendent that in their opinion the work could be done by days' labor within the original estimate. We were also advised by our Counsel and by the State Comptroller that it was not compulsory to do the work by contract. When the question as to whether the work should be done by days' labor or by contract was submitted to the members of the Watkins Glen Committee, the majority of the Committee voted in favor of having the work done by days' labor as being in the interest of economy. On March 6, 1911, Mr. Leffingwell, a member of the Watkins Glen Committee of different political faith from that of the Superintendent of the reservation, wrote to Charles M. Woodward, Esq., a member and Secretary of the Committee, in reply to a letter from the latter about commencing the work and said:

“Both Senator Murtaugh and Assemblyman Gurnett have entered protests against having the Glen work done by the day under the direction of the present Superintendent, claiming that the Glen work has been used to aid the Republican organization in this County. I do not myself believe that effective or economical work can be done in the Glen at this time of year. Therefore I do not see the necessity of any haste in determining this matter and desire to have my vote recorded as against commencing work, at once.”

Upon this letter being brought to the attention of Col. Henry W. Sackett, Chairman of the Watkins Glen Committee, he wrote, under date of March 8, 1911, to Mr. Woodward, saying:

“ This is the first time that politics in any form or degree has figured in the work of our Committee in connection with Watkins Glen or with any matter with which the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society has ever had anything to do, either for the State or otherwise. I want to appeal to every member of the Committee to put an end to any association of our work for the State with politics in any form. I have never known, up to the present time, the politics of Mr. Frost, the Superintendent.

I do not want to know the politics of any member of the Committee in connection with the work or of any person employed by the Society on behalf of the State.

“So far as Mr. Frost is concerned the only question with which I am concerned or in which it seems to me our Committee should be concerned is whether he is doing his work faithfully, honestly and as well as any other parties whom we could employ for the purpose. I am entirely satisfied that the work, such as this proposed at Cavern Cascade, can be done very much more economically by days' labor under the Superintendent's oversight than is possible by the letting by public contract; and I think this has been demonstrated by the results of our recent advertisement and bids.

So far as I have anything to do with the work of the Committee or the Society, politics will not enter into it in any form, and the work will be carried on absolutely free from uch influence.

“ Mr. Leffingwell's letter contains an assertion on the part of members of the Legislature that the present Superintendent has been using his position for political purposes. This is a grave charge and on account of its source entitled to immediate consideration and thorough investigation. It seems to me, therefore, that a meeting of the full Committee should be held at as early a date as can be conveniently arranged, when those who are cognizant of the grounds for this charge can have the opportunity of presenting them, when opportunity may be given to the Superintendent to answer them and when they may be passed upon after such full hearing by the entire Committee.

In pursuance of the foregoing, a meeting of the Committee was called for March 25, 1911, to consider the allegations against the Superintendent which, in the meantime, had been brought to his attention and which he denied in writing.

On March 17, 1911, Chairman Sackett wrote to Mr. Leffingwell communicating to him Mr. Frost's denial of the charges and he asked Mr. Leffingwell to secure if possible signed statements em

« PreviousContinue »