This is a story of a “Visit to Alma Hill”, by Ron Taylor, Alma Town Historian and  Craig Braack, Allegany County Historian.  Craig had stated on several occasions that he had never visited Town of Alma areas of Alma Hill and was interested and the date reserved for August 18th, 2012.  The plan was to view the Fire Tower & Camp along with the Ice Cave.  Added to the plan during the walk was the official marker of elevation.

After meeting-up with the Vossler Brothers, who would take us on the paths over properties that their families and neighbors owned, we set forth to find the “Ice Cave” of Alma Hill.

Walking through various paths and viewing remains of the oil industry, namely piles of old pipe, remains of drilling rig which had deteriorated, and rod line that had seen their last “back-and-forth” pull of the oil jacks, we first found the official markers of elevation laid out many years before.

The markers placed in the middle of a forest, perhaps a half mile from the point we had entered, was the resting place of the official visit and verification of the highest elevation point in Western New York State.  I never would have found the marker had it not been for our guides.


As a placement by the surveyors, they drilled a hole in one of the common huge rocks of Alma Hill and mounted the circular “plaque” reflecting their visit.  As shown, the marker was well camouflaged on the forest floor surrounded by trees, bushes, ferns and moss.  It brought back memories to me of my visit to Alma Hill with my Dad when we gathered “ground pine” to make Christmas wreathes.


These markers were placed in 1923 by the U. S. Geological Survey. 


The marker above shows the 2548 elevation for Alma Hill.

After viewing this marker we continued toward the Ice Cave and saw huge up-crops of rocks.  The top of Alma Hill is noted for these and they leave nothing to doubt about the fact the peak of Alma stood above the glaciers which appeared in our region as the earth was ready to escape the ice age.

One of the truly amazing shots of rock piles is below.


In the vicinity of the Ice Cave area a ravine full of this type of rock formation in a jaggedly piled fashion exists.  It is a great place for caves and homes for many types of animals.

The Taylor & Quick families of Alma Hill in the period surrounding the arrival of the 1900s used to hold family picnics for the 4th of July and made ice cream with ice obtained from a cavern room which existed at that time below ground under these rocks.  It is evident from going to the cave area that the rocks have collapsed to close access to this room. 


From down inside the cave, looking out of the mouth is proof that there has been a “settling” of the rocks and there are cracks showing potential future movement.


It is shown here that a good sized animal could still find a home for winter here.


Having viewed the cave we proceeded back through the woods to the Fire Tower and Cabin, now privately owned.


“Just for the record” Historian Craig takes pictures of the Fire Tower located beside the cabin.

Before leaving Alma Hill I had to show Craig the only 3-story house built on the Hill which had been built by my Great Grandfather. 


While spotting the house (seen in horizon above) we discovered here by the closest tree, a Lot Marker, made from what (?) 


Yes, Alma Hill Rocks!

The End.  August 18, 2012/Ron Taylor