Sep 12, 2016

Visiting Montour Falls

Montour Falls has an enviable location.  Located at the end of Main Street is a magnificent 156-foot waterfall – Shequaga Falls, the Seneca word for “tumbling waters.” Well, it must be magnificent when there is more water going over it.  I love waterfalls but sadly I visited the area during one of the worst droughts in years and while the falls is rarely completely dry there
was only a trickle when John and I visited.  Regardless, it wasn’t hard to imagine water cascading over the rocky cliff. Adding to the beauty of the area is a picturesque stone bridge at the top. The location right in the village is amazing.  Evidently Louis XVIII, the “citizen king” of France thought so too because, according to the sign, while he was in exile
during the French Revolution the sketch he made of the falls is now in the Louvre. The streets below the falls form a “T” which is referred to as Glorious T because of the beautiful homes that line the streets. They are a wonderful mix of architectural treasures from craftsman to Greek Revival to Victorian. 

I got my “waterfall” fix by making a short drive to Havana Glen Park.  There is a great walking tour brochure we picked up at the entrance gate.  It started at the Turtle mound which is the basis of the Iroquois Creation Story and continues to where there was a Seneca village. Queen Catherine Montour, the Seneca Chief and matriarch from 1710 to1804, was an important liaison with the colonials. The serene park has a short, easy hike to Eagle Falls. At the bottom of the 40-foot falls is a pool, which during a wetter season, might be a great place for a dip.  There were several couples walking their dogs and the dogs sure thought the pool was fun. There are 44 water falls in Schuyler County.  I would love to visit all of them. 

No matter how many museums John and I visit, and we have
visited a lot of them over the years, there is always something interesting and new to learn.  The Brick Tavern Museum is one of the area’s gems.  As the name suggests the building, built in 1828, was once a tavern but through the years it also served as a boys’ boarding house and the home of Dr. Charles Clawson. Clawson ran the nearby Bethesda Sanitarium, one of many sanitariums in NYS where people felt the fresh air, local waters and rest were beneficial to their well being.  

As was customary at the time there was a separate entry door for men and one for women. Guns were not allowed so on the side of the door is a closet where the guns were stored.  Men would go into the tavern while the women spent time in the parlor. Music was an important source of entertainment. On
display is the first musical saw, in a carrying case, I have ever seen. Upstairs there are changing exhibits one of which shows many medical artifacts of Dr. Clawson.  There is a wonderful collection of early toys. One room has a selection of garments worn through the years denoting the changing fashions.  The fabric room has a working loom and the Native American room also has interesting displays. It is thought that the first indigenous people settled in the area around 1000 BC.  A great little town to visit.