Sunday, April 3, 2011

Carmichaels, PA. The Falls.

As always, click on the pictures to enlarge.

The whole idea of this post came to me waiting to get a root canal performed at my dads office, Dr. Evan Williams.  He was telling me about a patient,  Ed Begovich who was recently in the chair and noticed a picture of the Carmichaels falls my dad had taken back in 1983.  After the procedure was done, I set off in the rain (again) to visit the falls.  Drive down N. Market street in Carmichaels, hang a right at Laurel Hill Cemetery and drive on back and you will notice a sign greeting you.

Now, there is no question that every good Carmichaelian knows about this little spot where Muddy Creek tumbles down over the rocks.  The Falls I've been told were a "rite of passage"  of sorts for many a town child.  School was skipped here in the summer,  lovers met here, and days were spent swimming in the pool under the falls.

But not for me. 

I had always heard about this spot growing up, but lived way out in the sticks so riding a bike here like the town kids did was not an option.  The first time I even visited was about 14 months ago, and yesterdays trip was my second return.  

This is the photo my father took in 1983.  On the center left you can see Toby Worch and Ian Williams playing on the rocks.

Roughly the same shot as my dad took, mine shot yesterday, 2011.

Seeing as my knowledge was limited on this subject, I turned to one of my best resources concerning local history, Dave Jack.  Plus, I needed a haircut anyway and he's the town barber.  Mr. Jack told me that the falls started their life as a quarry in the early years of the towns history, then was a entry shaft for the Crucible mine which made sense since the land was donated by Consol and relics of ancient buildings lie scattered about.

I'm not terribly sure about the current ownership of this little spot, but it looks like it could use a little freshening up, as graffiti of the most profane (and some amusing) and broken bottles litter the picnic pavilion and parking area,  and high uncut weeds grow in the former grassy areas.

Who knows how long this has been here.  Tumbled down the rock face from the junk yard above .

In a way however, its kind of interesting. 

There is a fence around the high area of the falls, but little muddy paths will take you down to the base of the falls and further downstream as well.  Use caution as these are basically dirt/mud foot paths w/ no safety devices installed.

On a return trip later that day, Danielle brought her 3 year old son, Remy, to check it out.  Soon as we got out of the truck, the sound of the crashing water seemed to wake him up.  As we approached the falls and he caught a glimpse of them he just had one word to describe his thoughts, "WOW!".

"WOW!" indeed, Remy.

We hope you enjoy these pictures and really encourage you to share your favorite falls stories here ....

Updated 06.17.11
Went back down just yesterday and shot some video and took a few more pictures.

A nice little column written by Kimberly Cockroft for the Observer Reporter paper about the falls can be read here.


  1. I remember these falls quite well. Nice pics.

  2. Great pictures! My brother and I used to fish and play at the falls. Another area we explored every chance we could was the Sand Rock, near the falls. Playing at the falls and the sand rocks is one of the best memories I have growing up in Carmichaels.
    I grew up on North Market Street. I remember many buses coming down our street, from Waynesburg college and other nearby schools, visiting the sand rocks. They were looking for fossils.

  3. Hello, there! I am planning on linking your blog on my Sunday column in the O-R. My name is Kimberly Cockroft, so if you get this message, please e-mail me at my "Greene Acres" I'd love to know who you are. I really appreciate all the local history you've collected, as well as your photos. Thank you!

  4. I believe those black boxes on the poles in your video of the falls are indeed bat boxes as you surmised. the slats are really very narrow as bats can go thru really small openings... Thanks for making your videos and taking pictures of our area. I really enjoy all you are doing. Keep it up....

  5. wow i miss this place. i also grew up there and explored it many times with my brother and friends. we fished the whole creek up and down lol my best buddy jake lived nxt to the covered bridge. we all used to jump our bikes right nect to the falls at the graveyard..... man the good ol days..
    tim campbell

  6. Hi, My Grandparents lived in the 'Stone House' for 60 years. I spent much of my early childhood there. Her kitchen was once in the basement. It had a large metal kettle on a swingng hinge over the fireplace. We carried buckets of water from the springhouse and I slept many nights in one of the two bedrooms upstairs. I have some very old pictures of it someplace.

  7. Oh, and by the way, was that Red Beam's house that they burned down because of snakes. We were always killing copperheads down there. Red, (so my father told me), tore down the old wooden Rices Landing school piece by piece to save the lumber. He supposedly stored it near his house....I've wondered what became of all of it.

  8. Anonymous,
    I'd be very interested in those pictures if you have them as Iive in that house now. The kettle is gone, but the swinging arm part is still there.

  9. Very nice pics. We've enjoyed playing in the creek at the other end near the bridge on E George St.

  10. I'm on the board or the non-profit organization (ARCH) that owns the falls. We had great hopes for the area and worked with the boy scouts and the community to "fix" it up. We built the fence (for safety),built the pavillion, built picnic tables, cleared it all off, the scouts put up bird houses, and we even rented a port-a-john mainly for the girls. We intended to finish the path down to the falls so that everyone could go down there. Vandals cut all the metal off the pavillion and gouged holes in the roof, rolled the new port-a-john several times (until the owners had to remove it), tore down all the bird houses, etc. Well, you get the idea. We were heart-sick and finally had to give up. There was no way the community could do a neighborhood watch 24 hours a day. So.....eveyone loses. Any ideas, email me.

  11. Loved this place in my youth for the fun and excitement; came to love it more during the years I came home to care for my mom in her time of need. When I needed a bit of RnR, used to bring my golden Molly dog to walk and refresh all my senses. Carole, this must have been during the time of when all your hard work had been done and I am very sad to hear of what has happened. This was a place of peace and calm for Molly and me as we took time after walking to just sit, and "be." I have no idea if this post is still active, but it did my heart good to reminisce. Thank you, TZ.

  12. Part of our playground growing up on N Market St. However we were not allowed to go to the falls. Mom always said we would drown! (We went anyways when we could get away with it) The sand rocks were also part of the trip. However none of us ever went into the caves there. Growing up in Carmichaels gave us the best of all the world. Will never ever regret what that little town had to offer.

  13. Thanks for the walk down memory lane, lot of good memories from this place.

  14. Love swimming at the falls hope to do it again this summer lol

  15. I spent most of my childhood here at the falls with my siblings. Some great memories here. There used to be a huge catfish lobbing under the falls that loved butter pretzels! I wonder if he's still there lol. Thanks for sharing these pics brought back a lot of great memories not only of my childhood but my siblings and old friends as well. Thank you

  16. I went today and it was very beautiful I will be going back come spring time.