Barcelona Falls
Barcelona, New York

Location: About 300 feet east of the Barcelona Harbor parking area. Latitude: N 42.34132 Longitude: W 79.59384

Directions: Starting from Exit 60 of the New York State Thruway (Route 90) turn right (northwest) onto Route 394 (North Portage Road) heading towards Barcelona. At 0.3 of a mile turn right (east) onto Route 5 (East Lake Road) and in a little over 0.1 of a mile turn left (north) into the parking area for Barcelona Harbor, proceed down the hill and park along the right (eastern) side of Daniel Reed Pier.

Barcelona Map

Barcelona-Sea-Lion     From your parking spot walk to the south, along the waters edge towards a large sailing ship near the cliff. Known as the Sea Lion it is a reproduction of a late 16 century three masted English sailing ship. The building of the ship was headed by Ernest E. Cowan of Mayville, New York. It first sailed on Chautauqua Lake, located 8 miles to the southeast in 1985. In 1992 the ship was sold to the Buffalo Maritime Society and was transported from Chautauqua Lake to the Barcelona Harbor. It was then towed to Buffalo, New York and operated there until it sank in 1999. The ship was raised in 2000 and towed back to Barcelona Harbor and now rests in dry dock waiting to be restored. For more info on the Sea Lion click here.

    After viewing the Sea Lion turn east and walk along the base of the cliff for a short distance to Barcelona Falls. The sandy shore line of Lake Erie changes from year to year so access to the base of the falls is unpredictable.

Barcelona Falls

Barcelona Falls     Barcelona Falls is located on an unnamed intermittent creek that flows into Lake Erie. The falls has a height of 18 feet, a crest width of 4 feet and faces to the north northwest. The elevation of the crest above sea level is 590 feet. It is best viewed in the early spring or after a period of heavy rain.

    The crest of the falls is believed to be Laona Siltstone which is 3 feet thick in this area. The siltstone is more resistant to erosion than shale and is the caprock of several other waterfalls in the region. The Laona is a light gray quartzose siltstone with beds of gray shale and dates from the Late Devonian Period, giving the rock an age of around 372 million years.

Barcelona-Falls-





    Below the Laona Siltstone is the Gowanda Member of the Canadaway Formation. The Gowanda consists of layers of light and dark gray shales with thin beds of light gray siltstone. Concretions ranging in size from 1 inch to over a foot in diameter also occur in the member which dates from the Late Devonian Period.

Barcelona-Falls-No. 2
    Two additional intermittent waterfalls can be found along this cliff. They are located less than 0.4 of a mile to the northeast of Barcelona Falls. A photo of the first one, taken in 2012, appears to the left. This falls is 22 feet in height. As with Barcelona Falls, this falls is found on an unnamed creek and is best viewed in the early spring or after a period of heavy rain. The shore line of Lake Erie changes from year to year so access to the base of this falls and the next are unpredictable.


Barcelona-Lighthouse     As you neared the entrance to Barcelona Harbor you undoubtedly noticed the lighthouse 350 feet to the west of the entrance. Made from local fieldstone, the lighthouse was built by Judge Thomas Campbell in 1828. The tower has a base diameter of 22 feet and a height of 40. The first lighthouse keeper was Joshua Lane, who served from 1829 to 1846. The light in the tower was at first fueled by oil. In 1831, natural gas that bubbled up from fissures in a nearby creak bed was piped to the tower and was used to fuel the light. This is believed to be the first lighthouse to use natural gas to fuel its light. The natural gas was not 100% reliable and oil was occasionally used. It is believed that natural gas was used in the lighthouse until the early 1850s. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1859 and is now a private home. Please respect the property owners rights and do not trespass.

    A short distance to the east of the entrance to the harbor is the Westfield-Barcelona Chamber of Commerce Visitors' Booth. The booth has a wealth of information on the area. It usually opens on Memorial Day weekend and closes right after Labor Day. Their hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10:30 AM thru 4:30 PM. Be sure to check out the interesting historical signage near the building. Picnic tables are also available.



For a Map Quest map of the area click here.

For a ACME Mapper 2.0 map of the area click here.

Web site: Barcelona Harbor | Westfield, NY

Sunset photos from nearby Ottaway Park


Copyright 2012 by Scott A. Ensminger.
This information may not be reproduced without written permission.

    You can send me e-mail at: falzguy@verizon.net
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