Letchworth State Park story
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The Last Connection: Amazing story I stumbled into regarding the (now gone) 1875 railroad trestle and cement piers at Letchworth SP. Robert Rathbun grew up nearby in Dalton, NY on a farm there and is very likely the last living person to have anything to do with the trestle or the piers in the Genesee River. 70 years ago, Robert was an 18 year old boy and had a summer job working for the guys charged with fortifying the piers, anchored in the river since the 1850’s. Originally built of blue stone (mined locally), the piers were later encased in cement. In 1948, an additional base was added to the piers to further fortify them. Robert helped in the process and described to me the painstaking work the crew performed, lowering materials from the trestle on a platform down 240 feet to the river. The old trestle had a connection with him and though he loves the new Genesee Arch Bridge, he misses the iron trestle and piers that were once there. Tomorrow Robert celebrates his 88th birthday, so last night I swung by his place to meet him and present a chunk of that blue stone from inside the last pier standing before it was all removed—he was genuinely touched. Robert’s son, Brian, was kind enough to reach out to me weeks ago here on Facebook calling his dad’s story to my attention. I’m glad he did! Happy Birthday Mr. Rathbun!