Social History of Trenton Falls
 
 

 

 

 

View of NY State Dam and Water Diversion Lock South of Trenton Gorge

 

 

Trenton Falls is a geologist's playground which has been inspiring generations of scientists since the early 1800's, and its popularity with non-geologists has been equally astounding. During the mid to late portion of the 19th century, the grand chasm of Kuyahoora, the great "leaping waters" of the Deyoghtararon, was a favorite on the agenda of any traveler in New York. In fact, the popularity of the gorge and the fine accommodations at Moore's Hotel, was in its day greater than that of Niagara Falls.

For nearly 80 years, from 1822 to the end of the 1800's, Trenton Falls was a major tourist attraction and summer retreat for many well-known and influential politicians, writers, and artists. William H. Seward, Governor of New York State and Secretary of State to Abraham Lincoln, often chose Trenton Falls as a vacation site. In 1863 he chose Trenton Falls as the site to host a diplomacy meeting in support of the United States (as opposed to the Confederacy) during the Civil War. Although Trenton Falls resort is no more, this one act is commemorated on a bronze plaque attached to an granite boulder. The plaque reads:

"In commemoration of the visit of Secretary of State William H. Seward and the Diplomats of Seven Nations to Moore's Hotel, August 18, 1863. These Representatives here agreed to advise their Countries against recognition of the Confederacy, a decision which hastened the end of the War between the States."

Although this might be considered the defining moment for Trenton Falls, its own magnificent scenery made its reputation. The following section briefly introduces the social history surrounding the development and enjoyment of Trenton Falls by geologists and the layman alike. Discussion is focused within a chronology of major "eras" of development and use.

 

 
 
 
 

© 2004 President and Fellows of Harvard College