The 19th century was another whole world and virtually no one from then is alive today to tell us about it. But it was when photography was born and much of what we know and associate from that time comes from the photographs.
Watkins Glen State Park wasn’t created until 1906, but it was a famous and thriving scenic resort since the Civil War. Photos of the structures along the Gorge Trail rarely looked the same as the bridges and rails were flimsy and easily swept away by floods and rockslides. Consider the picture above of Pluto Falls in the section then called Glen Arcadia (as well as many other names). Notice the staircases climbing the rims of the gorge in the rear of the photograph.
Many thanks to Bill Hecht for finding and scanning these old photographs. These two images were cropped from one side of stereographs that were looked at with a binocular stereo viewer that made them look 3D.
Look for more historic photographs in our previous posts about Watkins Glen State Park.