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Interpreting the Evidence

Upper Falls of the Genesee River, c. 1900

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    Finger Lakes
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Upper Falls of the Genesee River, c. 1900 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
The Upper Falls and railroad bridge on the Genesee River in current-day Letchworth State Park near Portageville, New York, circa 1900.
Historical Context
New York State is the home of many breathtaking waterfalls.  They can be found in all different regions of the state.  The origin of the waterfalls stems from the Ice Age and movement of glaciers throughout the area.
Essential Question
How does geography impact culture and economy?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain how this water source influenced New York's culture and economy.
Historical Challenges
When and why was the bridge in the photograph built? Is this bridge still standing today?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: Investigate the impact of glaciers in New York State during the Ice Age.
English Language Arts: Write a newspaper article persuading people to visit a waterfall of your choice in New York State.