Glimpses of the Past
People, Places, and Things in Letchworth Park History

A Special Rock at Inspiration Point

Go to Photo of the "Special Rock"

Probably the most spectacular view of the river gorge and falls is from Inspiration Point, located about 1/2 mi south from the Visitor Center. Walking upstream (toward the falls) you will encounter a large boulder upon which is found a plaque with an excerpt from a poem by Sarah Evans Letchworth. Sarah was the mother of Pierre Edson Letchworth who died in 1991 and is buried in California where one branch of the Letchworth Family lives. Pierre visited the park when ever possible on trips east and personally placed his mother's name plate at the corner of the Plaque on one such visit in 1989.(see below) Pierre's daughter Sally and her brother Peter live in California, but still visit the Park on occasion, and arranged the donation to the Park of the portrait of their Great Grandmother, Katharine Edson Letchworth that hangs in the museum. Katharine was the wife of Josiah, one of William Pryor Letchworth's brothers, and the mother in law of Sarah. Here is her complete poem:



June 8th, 1909
by Sarah Evans Letchworth

Ah, Nature! never hast thou thrilled me so,
As when I gazed from that great point, and saw
The wondrous valley wild, that thy sure law
Of beauty had made perfect by the flow
Of water, falling, flashing in the glow
Like scintillate sunshine. O'er the gorge the awe
Of elemental space hung; not one raw
Sign of mankind's mistaken zeal did show.

Where, free at home, the woodland bird did flit
Thou wert supreme in august majesty ---
All, all was thine as far as eye could see --
God wrought for us this scene beyond compare,
But one man's loving hand protected it
And gave it to his fellow-men to share


Memorial Rock Addendum (added 2016)

We have always paid attention to contacts with the Letchworth family members we have been fortunate enough to meet. One such contact, which is an historic happening in itself, goes back to 1989 when Tom Breslin was still Park Manager and Pierre Edson Letchworth, the son of Sarah Evans Letchworth, visited the park with his daughter Sally. Pierre express an interest in having his mother's writing of the poem that is quoted on the rock acknowledged. The photos below document the day in 1989 in which he placed the small plaque onto the rock. Unfortunately that was his last visit to the park as we have noted above. As soon as we learned that Sally had these photos we asked to borrow them to help us further document the rich Letchworth heritage. We appreciate her generosity and the continued interest in the Park by the family members in California.


Above: Pierre Letchworth, Great Nephew of William Pryor Letchworth, admires the plaque which now includes his Mother's name. Sarah Evans Letchworth had written the poem whose last lines are inscribed on the plaque at Inspiration Point.

Top Right: Pierre is attaching his mother's name plate to the plaque.

Right: Pierre Edson Letchworth stands on the porch of the Glen Iris during what was his last trip to the park that bears his family name. He passed away in January 1991.





Tom Breslin

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