Abe Mattison Millrace Park

Quick Facts:

Location: Everett Street, Facloner, NY
Hours: 8am until dusk
Facilities: Picnic tables, grills
Trails: light blue blazes
Notable:  canoe launch
Fee:  nope
Dogs:  there are no signs about pets, BYO cleanup bags

Abe Mattison Sign

The Full Scoop:
Tucked away on Everett Street behind the Fancher Chair Company and surrounded by residential neighborhoods is a little piece of property owned and maintained by Chautauqua County.  Formerly known as the Falconer Millrace Park, it is now known as the Abe Mattison Millrace Park.  Perhaps I should say it is ALSO known by this name, since there are signs that still refer to it as the Falconer Millrace Park.  The official Chautauqua County website appears to have no link to a map, but you can find the park as follows:

Topozone: Map
Coordinates:  42° 7.11’N, 79° 11.71’W (NAD27)

Mapquest: Map (This is actually a map to Fancher Chair Company.  The parking lot for the Park is behind the factory building off Everett Street.)

There are geocaches in the vicinity.

You can also enter the park from any of several neighborhood entrances.  Side streets deadend and if you enter what appears to be “the woods” you can find your way to the trail.

Facilities:
There are a couple of picnic tables with nearby grills.  I found no potable water, nor any toilets.  There is a canoe launch and a nature trail.
Picnic Table and Grill

Canoe Launch

Trail:
As with other Chautauqua County parks, this one has well-maintained trails marked with light blue blazes.  I found no park map… but there seem to be 2 or 3 trails that run parallel to the Chadakoin River and loop back to the parking area.  I was not able to determine the length of the trail.  We were there for around an hour, and I’m sure we didn’t walk all the trails with blue blazes.

Blue Blazes Bench

Enormous Old Tree Entrance over Footbridge

Tree with Poison IvyThe trails are wide, pleasant and obviously well-used by foot traffic as well as bicycles.  Unfortunately, the understory is largely Japanese Knotweed.  And boy oh boy, stay on the trail if you are sensitive to Poison Ivy!  There are some mighty impressive Poison Ivy vines climbing up trees and providing a nice ground cover!

Park Etiquette:  No ATVs.

Visitor Register:
I found no visitor register at this park.

Park Hours:  8am-dusk

Notes:  A sign at the main entrance to the park gives a bit of history.

Millrace Sign

The sign reads as follows: 

Falconer Millrace Park
Welcome to the Falconer Millrace Park

The water channel you see in front of you is the remnant of a millrace circa 1850.  This race was used to float lumber from a sawmill constructed in 1807 which eventually grew into the present Fancher Chair Company.  The logs were carried in the race to the Chadakoin River and then to growing cities along the Allegheny, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers.

Please enjoy and respect our nature trails, canoe launch, picnic area and pedestrian walkways and bridges.  This park is owned and maintained by the Chautauqua County Parks Department.

Fancher Chair CompanyFrom the parking lot, you can see the back side of the Fancher Chair Company.  The Fanchers were an important part of the history of Allegany State Park, I believe.  Wish I could remember the exact details…  Perhaps one of these days, I’ll look it up and update this page.

The park is named in honor of Falconer resident Albert “Abe” Mattison.  The following text is from Abe Mattison’s obituary which appeared in The Post-Journal:

4/13/2007 – FALCONER — Albert F. ’’Abe” Mattison, 82, of 30 Morgan St., died at 2:19 p.m. Wednesday (April 11, 2007) in his home.

An area resident most of his life, he was born June 12, 1924 in Bemus Point, the son of the late Thomas P. and Ruth Fuller Mattison. He was a 1942 graduate of Falconer High School. Albert ’’Abe” enlisted in the Army in September of 1942. He served with the 101st Airborne Division and trained as a paratrooper and later with the Glider Division. He played with the 101st Airborne Artillery Band and participated in the invasion of France on D-Day, landing on Utah Beach. Abe served as the executive director of the American Red Cross, Southern Chautauqua County Chapter from 1952 to 1957, before moving to Lancaster Pennsylvania in 1958, where he became director of United Community Services. He later served as assistant to Dr. Wallace Fisher at the Lutheran Church of the Holy Trinity moving to Manchester, N. H., in 1965 to be the executive of the United Community Services. From 1976 to 1982 he served as vice president of the American City Bureau with offices in Chicago. He worked across United States as a management and development consultant to not-for profit organizations. In 1982 he re-turned to Falconer and established the Mattison Group and continued to serve as a development consultant to hospitals, schools and many YMCA’s until he retired in 2002. ‘‘Abe” was elected mayor of the Village of Falconer in 1987 and he served in this capacity for 16 years, retiring in 2003, due to ill health.

As Mayor, he successfully fostered numerous community projects involving the State in economic development, community block grants, New York State Environment Conservation and Environment Protection Agency. While ‘‘Abe” was mayor he supervised the construction of a new fire hall, was able to up-date DPW equipment and raised funds, outside the tax structure to renovate the Village Library, build a historic preservation program and initiated updating the Village Park. He also served as President of the Chautauqua Conference of Mayors. In 2004 Chautauqua County named the ’’Abe Mattison Millrace Park” in his honor. Abe served for many years on the board of directors of Hospice of Chautauqua County and as president for two years. He was a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church. He was a lifetime member of the Henry Mosher Post 638, American Legion and the DAV. Abe had served on the boards of Lucille Ball Theater, the Arts Council, and the Fenton Historical Society.