When the gorge now known as Watkins Glen first opened to the public in the 1860s, it was known as Freer’s Glen. Local judge George Freer acquired the glen when he married Samuel Watkins’s widow. It was renamed Watkins Glen by new owners by the 1870s. Photographer G. F. Gates began making stereographic photo cards of the glen even in those early days. In this photo from one such stereograph, we are looking at what is now known as the Frowning Cliff and Pluto Falls area, but had a number of names in the 1800s, including the Narrow Pass, Glen Difficulty, Spiral Gorge, and then Glen Arcadia, which seems to have persisted for a long time.
Today, the viewing bridge over Pluto Falls is long gone, and a safe walled path and steps long ago replaced the narrow, treacherous route.