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Construction of the Kinzua Dam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began in 1960. Its completion in 1965 resulted in the permanent flooding of the Allegheny River spanning a section of the border between Pennsylvania and New York. As the Allegheny Reservoir filled, the villages of Kinzua, Corydon, Quaker Bridge, Onoville, and Elko were lost. Numerous family grave sites and cemeteries had to be relocated.
Read Cemeteries Flooded by the Kinzua Dam, by Liane Freedman.
Three of the cemeteries were relocated to a finger of land that extends south into Willow Bay: Cornplanter, Corydon and Riverview. The cemeteries are adjacent to each other on a knoll overlooking the Allegheny Reservoir.
Plan on a full day from Warren to visit these three cemeteries. The easiest route is to drive east and north to Bradford, then west to the cemeteries. And wear appropriate footwear - the hillsides that slope down toward the shoreline are quite steep in spots.
Driving directions from the Hickory Street bridge in Warren: Drive south across the bridge; at the traffic light, turn left onto Crescent Park road which will follow the Allegheny River for a distance. After crossing the RR tracks, you will shortly come to the intersection of Rt. 6. Turn left (or east) onto Rt. 6. This road will also parallel the river with the city of Warren on the opposite side. There is another bridge into Warren on the east side and large refinery buildings on the opposite side of the river will be visible as you approach this bridge. Continue on past but watch closely for signs for Rt. 59 (Kinzua Road) not far beyond the bridge. Your turn will be to the left (northeast).
While not always visible, the Allegheny River will continue to be on your left along this scenic byway. You will pass Kinzua Dam on your left and the Allegheny Reservoir will then be visible. The view is especially good as you cross the long bridge toward Kinzua Wolf Run Marina. Continue on Rt. 59 as it leaves the waterway and heads into forested country. Take a shortcut - watch for Hwy 770, and veer left toward Bradford. Hwy 770 will T into Rt. 219. Turn left again toward Bradford.
Once in Bradford, take the Elm Street exit, and turn left onto Elm. Then immediately turn right as soon as you have driven under the overpass (Rt. 219). This will be S. Davis Street and the Best Western motel will be on your left.
Now is a good time to pause for refreshment - opportunities are few and far between once you leave the big city.
Drive straight through the intersection of S. Davis and Main Streets. At the end of the next block, turn left onto Rt 346 (W. Washington Street) and follow it out of town. It will wind through countryside dotted with homes along the road and past a small reservoir on the left. Continue following Rt. 346 on and on, passing (finally!) Willow Bay Campground. Soon you will again catch glimpses of the Allegheny Reservoir on your left - this is actually Willow Bay. Look for the sign Welcoming you to New York State! In about 1/4 mile, look for an unmarked paved road on the left. It's wooded on both sides of the road and the small side lane will come up quickly unannounced.
Drive straight along this little lane, making several sharp turns through the forest. While this can't possibly be the entrance to a large cemetery complex including Chief Conplanter's monument, trust me, it is!
|The metal gate into the paved cemetery roads may be locked,
but ample parking is available on the right in a small grassy patch.
|The pedestrian entrance through the wire fence is at the right of the metal gate. (Left in this foto!)
Roads are paved throughout and loop around the cemeteries
which are exceptionally well maintained, given their isolated location.
To orient you:
Cornplanter cemetery will be on your right as you walk into the grounds. It will be notable for it's lack of gravestones.
On your left will be Corydon cemetery.
Straight ahead is the Riverview cemetery.
|All photographs contributed by Penelope Repko|
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh District, offers Kinzua Cemetery Relocations, a website with links which "will allow family members to locate their loved ones by name and determine which cemetery and plot number they were moved from, and to which cemetery and plot number they had been moved."
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