Monday, June 15, 2015

Watkins Glen

Here's how Bradford Van Diver, in Roadside Geology of New York, describes Watkins Glen in western New York State:
This is the best known of the Finger Lakes glens and certainly one of the most beautiful places in Eastern North America. Here, Glen Creek has cut a deep and unusually narrow gorge into the thin-bedded Enfield siltstones and shales belonging to the late Devonian Sonyea group that overlies the Genesee group. Because of the relatively uniform resistance of the rocks to erosion, the gorge does not have large falls... The stream twists and turns in a tortuous manner, leaving overhanging walls where meanders have drifted sideways as they cut rapidly downward.
The unnumbered Rotograph postcard at the top of this post shows an evocative (if not quite convincingly colored) view of the gorge, but the one below (5082 a.) may be of special interest for the postcard historian. Depicting a feature called "the Card-Rack," it appears to document a practice of leaving postcards and letters at a selected location in the glen.

Were these missives votive offerings, or love charms like the locks on Paris's Pont des Arts, or just mementos recording that "So-and-so was here"? I haven't been able to find any other record of the practice or when it was discontinued; I suspect that park authorities would frown on it today. Any information would be appreciated.