Castile in Wyoming County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The village of St. Helena was originally part of Mary Jemison's Gardeau Reservation. Settlers moved here after she sold most of her property in 1823. At its peak, St. Helena was a prosperous riverside hamlet with a flour mill, two sawmills, a shingle mill, paper mill, two general stores, a hotel, and 25 dwellings.
(Photo) Main Street This view looks east over St. Helena's Main Street, ca.1900.
In the 1930s, with few people still living in St. Helena, the utility companies acquired the land with plans to build a power-generating dam at Mt. Morris. In 1950, as a flood-control dam neared completion, the last homes were removed, the cemetery relocated to Castile, and the bridge dismantled. Today, St. Helena's fields and foundations are covered with 15 feet of mud that has settled from flood waters held behind the Mt. Morris Dam
(Photo) St. Helena School in 1880
In the 1880s, 75 pupils attended school in St. Helena from September through December. The schoolhouse also served as church and community center.
(Photo) 1920 view of the last bridge at St. Helena
There were three previous bridges that had been destroyed by floods or ice. The
By Bruce Kelly, April 11, 2021
1. St. Helena Marker
By Bruce Kelly, April 11, 2021
2. St. Helena Marker
Looking to the northeast corner of the parking area, to the right is the beginning of the St Helena trail which leads down to the Genesee River and through the village location. The area to the rear and the parking lot were the location of the CCC camp, today a picnic/playground area.
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first bridge, built in 1835, was a covered structure with wooden latticework sides.
(Photo) Scene of valley in flood from Gorge Trail
When the Mount Morris Dam is at capacity, water fills the valley to depths of 70 feet. Sycamore, cottonwood, and willow trees now cover most of the land. The only remaining signs of St. Helena are the end abutments of the bridge on either side of the river.
(Photo) CCC Camp 76,261st Company
One of the four Civilian Conservation Corps Camps in Letchworth State Park was erected in May 1934 on the flats that are now the lower St. Helena Picnic Area. Men from this camp worked on road construction, water lines, and reservoirs. They also operated a quarry nearby before the camp closed in May 1936.
Letchworth State Park
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Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture • Cemeteries & Burial Sites • Industry & Commerce • Native Americans.
Location. 42° 37.169′ N, 77° 59.669′ W. Marker is in Castile, New York, in Wyoming County. Marker can be reached from Park Road. In NYS Letchworth Park, the marker is located at the northeast corner of the parking lot which is at the end of Middle Lower St. Helena Rd., a short road that begins east from Park Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Castile NY 14427, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this
marker, measured as the crow flies. Gardeau Tract (approx. 0.3 miles away); Wolf Creek (approx. 0.9 miles away); Lower Falls Camp SP-49 (approx. 2.1 miles away); CCC Statue (approx. 2.1 miles away); The Lower Falls Footbridge (approx. 2.1 miles away); Life and Leisure in a CCC Camp (approx. 2.1 miles away); Whaley Tavern (approx. 2.9 miles away); William Pryor Letchworth 1823 - 1910 (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Castile.
By Bruce Kelly, April 6, 2020
3. Remains of the last bridge in the 1920 view photo, 100 years later
Credits. This page was last revised on April 15, 2021. It was originally submitted on April 11, 2021, by Bruce Kelly of Perry, New York. This page has been viewed 40 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 11, 2021, by Bruce Kelly of Perry, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.