Glen Falls At Williamsville
Williamsville, New York
Location: Northeastern Erie County, Village of Williamsville, Glen Park. Two parking lots for Glen Park are located on the north side of Glen Avenue, one on on each side of Ellicott Creek. A parking lot for the handicapped is located on the south side of Glen avenue, just east of Ellicott Creek.
From either of the northern parking lots walk across Glen Avenue, being careful of the traffic, and into Glen Park. A network of paved paths pass several ponds that usually have numerous mallard ducks swimming in them. The Falls is located about 400 feet south of Glen Avenue.
Glen Falls is 27 feet high, and has a 76-foot wide crest that faces to the north. As Ellicott Creek descends the Onondaga Escarpment, it first drops 9 feet. Then it descends 8 feet over a steep cascading section, and drops 10 feet to the base of the falls.
The Seneca Indians called this area “Ga-sko-sa-da-ne-o,” meaning “many falls.” In 1799 John Thomson and Joseph Ellicott, for whom Ellicott Creek is named, purchased land in the area of the falls. Thomson built a sawmill on the east bank of the creek. Initially the mill was unsuccessful. It was repaired by Jonas Williams around 1804, and he later built another sawmill, two gristmills, a tannery, and a distillery. To power all the mills, he built a system of dams and raceways. The settlement growing around the mills soon became known as “Williams Mills.” The name was changed to “Williamsville” around 1813. In 1911 Louis M. Conshafter bought the land surrounding the falls and opened the area as Conshafter’s Picnic Grounds. The photo above above was taken around 1915. Note the falls in the background. The picnic grounds were later sold, sometime in the 1920s, to Harry Altman, who built the Glen Amusement Park. Click here for another photo of Glen Falls.
The beautiful setting of Glen Falls was not always such. In the 1920's an amusement park was developed on the west side of the falls. Later, a small zoo and a night club were added. In 1968 the amusement park and the night club, known as the Inferno, were destroyed by fire. The village board favored commercial development of the area, with a small overlook area for the falls. In 1973 a referendum on what to do with the falls area was put before the voters. A majority of villagers voted that the area be used completely as a park. Glen Park was opened to the public in 1977.
For a MapQuest map of the area click here.
For a ACME Mapper 2.0 map of the area click here.
Web site: Williamsville Village Parks
Copyright © 2007 by Scott A. Ensminger.
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