The Genesee River would flood many small towns in its spring run from the southern tier to Lake Ontario. To prevent the river from going on a rampage, a dam was built at Mount Morris, NY in the early 1950's at a cost of $25 million dollars. Billions of dollars have been saved in undamaged property down-stream from the dam in the last 55 years.
The dam is also a tourist sight. We have personnally been there several times in different seasons and the area takes on a different personality with each season. In the Spring, when the rains are filling the streams, the dam normally is more than half filled. In the Summer, when the southern streams are at their minimum, the only water in the dam is in the run-off sluices. In the fall, the tree colors at Mount Morris and across the river in Letchworth are spectacular. In the winter, geese and squirrels can be seen walking across the frozen river bed.
At the dam, you can walk out to the very edge of the wall rim, behind a protective fence and peer down into the chasm. (I usually hold one hand on the fence because the sight is a bit dizzying). A welcome cabin has been built at the dam site where you can see a model of the dam, a history of its construction and a video-tape about the floods and the Genesee river.
Periodically, boyscouts and special interest groups (like the Civil War Re-enactment groups) present events at the cabin.
See the web page for up-to-date information.
the official website for the park is:
You will be asked for an entrance fee per car (extra for buses and trailers) and given a brochure that describes the park features and facilities.
The park road is a narrow two-lane affair which gets clogged with traffic on popular weekends.
There are a few restroom facilities dotted along the park road route, but be prepared to wait in lines when there are special events at the park.
The park road runs 9 miles or so from the north end of the park all the way to the south end.
The park has several natural attractions. There are great birding trails at both ends of the park. There is a camping area at both ends. There is an events area in the middle of the park.
You can get a great view of Mt. Morris Dam and the Genesee River. During the summer and early fall there are many special attractions and events scheduled which draw huge crowds.
(see the website for details and plan on getting there at least an hour early due to the long lines of cars, limited parking and single main road access).
23 Reviews and Opinions
This is a bit of class out in the rural area. Fine dining for those in proper dress (collared shirt and long pants) for dinner. Cloth table linens and napkins was an unexected touch of this lovely dining room. The low volume of customers provided a cozy atmosphere where conversation was easily carried on.
It is family owned and operated (since the 1960s) and they provide a freindly environment for evening dining. They have a juicy prime rib that has been slow roasted and sliced into large portions. The staff is friendly but not talkative. The service is fast and the servers watch to see when you need the next course to be served (drinks, soup/salad, entree, dessert).
The price is high but the ambience is worth it.
Mount Morris has developed as an aggregate of many individual communities with individual histories and political affiliations.
Some of these communities within the township of Mount Morris are:
Brooks Grove (named after General Brooks)... village on route 408
Deyuitga'oh ("where the valley widens")... Native American reservation at the dam site
Ridge... hamlet southwest of Mount Morris village on route 408
River Road Forks...
Tuscarora.... village southeast of Mount Morris
Union Corners... hamlet east of Mount Morris
The annual Arts and Crafts Show for Wyoming County is held annually at Letchworth State Park, normally the first week in October. Just buy a ticket to get in the park and access to all arts and crafts vendors is free.
More than three hundred tents of jewelry, woodworking, leather goods, candles, herbs and scents, paintings, hand-made children's clothing, hats, belts, sandals, etc.etc.etc.
Most of the vendors are not from large commercial firms (a few are) but are family businesses or individual artists who use the venue to sell their wares.
You must be there early and cannot be in a hurry to leave. Why? Because the crowds are humunogous and there is only one entry/exit road. Even the tour buses get stuck in the traffic.
to get there:
I-390 to the Mt. Morris exit onto route 408 south/west. take route 408 south to connect to route 36 (Main Street). go west on Main Street, out of Mt. Morris and look for the signs for Letchworth Park entrance. Park attendants will guide you to the arts/crafts show
Mount Morris is a quiet community with one main intersection (routes 408 and 36) where a few stores, a church, a restaurant and a gas station are. The major part of the city is farmlands that stretch out to the Letchworth State Park.
There is almost no crime in the area. It is a very safe tourist region with thousands of people stopping in the town as they go to and from the state park.
Use the same precautions you would use in your own home town, when you are in Mount Morris and youa re sure to have a safe visit.
Flint knapping (making a pointed tool from raw flint stone) is a craft that native Americans and the early settlers used proficiently. Every August, the Genesee Valley Knappers have a gathering at High Banks Recreation Area (Letchworth State Park) to show how it is done. There are native American encampments, knapping exhibits, black powder and rifle demonstrations and 19th century exhibits and persons "in character". It is a fun time for the kids to see how raw materials can be used to develop a society without damaging the environment.
The encampment is usually the last week of August (See website below for details).
The only cost is the price of parking in the park.
Fondest memory: Just drove through here on Greyhound a few days ago (August 13) and was not amazed by the town, but it was neat... commonly advenrtised in shop and restaurant windows were the letters A and C (AC) of course referring to and advertising the fact that that particular store or restaurant was equipped with air-conditioning. Neat town!