Forest Falls Waterfall Wednesday blog cover
Adventures,  Painting Series,  Waterfall Wednesday

Waterfall Wednesday: Forest Falls

This week we’re back in Fall Creek Gorge in Ithaca to visit Forest Falls.  This waterfall is another one that’s hidden within the Cornell University campus.  

Photo overlooking Ithaca Falls from Forest Falls towards Cayuga Lake Fall Creek Gorge Ithaca by Laura Jaen Smith

Fall Creek Gorge (aka Ithaca Gorge) is a mile long gorge that runs along Fall Creek from Beebe Lake to Ithaca Falls before eventually running into Cayuga Lake.  There are six waterfalls along this gorge and each has its own name (which I found out is kind of rarer than you’d think).  The waterfalls are Upper Triphammer FallsLower Triphammer Falls, Rocky Falls, Foaming Falls (aka Horseshoe Falls), Forest Falls, and Ithaca Falls.  (More about Upper Triphammer Falls and Foaming Falls to come in the months ahead.)

Forest Falls is a 25 foot high cascade.  It can be viewed from the Stewart Avenue Bridge.  The opposite view (above) looks over Ithaca Falls below and out towards Cayuga Lake.  This waterfall is a little easy to miss driving by if you don’t know it’s there, as it’s tucked back in the trees.  

As you’ve probably gathered from my other posts about this gorge, this area has a rich history surrounding it specifically with the milling industries because of the hydro power produced by the waterfalls of the gorge.  

In 1794, the area around Fall Creek became the earliest settlement in the land that was to become Ithaca, New York.  At that time it was known as Free Hollow, but was later renamed to Forest Home. 

Photo of Forest Falls Fall Creek Gorge Ithaca by Laura Jaen Smith
Photo of Forest Falls Fall Creek Gorge Ithaca by Laura Jaen Smith

By 1827 the settlement had four dwellings, two barns, a copper shop, a school house, two gristmills, a dye house, and a sawmill.  By the mid-1800s, it had expanded to include a turning shop, a paper mill, a woolen mill, a knitting mill, a foundry, a gunpowder mill, a slaughter house, a tannery and leather shop, a cider mill, and a cabinet shop.  Forest Home even had came to have its own post office. 

Painting Forest Falls

Forest Falls by Laura Jaen Smith. Square acrylic landscape painting of waterfall in Fall Creek Gorge Ithaca. 50 NY Waterfall Series.
Forest Falls, 6x6 acrylic on wood panel, 2018

One of my favorite things about painting Forest Falls was the rock wall to the left of the falls.  I found the textures and the colors of the rock to be so interesting.  I also really liked the colors of the water and how you could see bold green and blue reflected.  

I had a lot of fun with this particular collection of waterfalls from Ithaca Gorge and, how by the way the paintings are grouped together, it’s almost like exploring the gorge.  I just love the idea of someone owning the whole collection, which is why they are listed as a group in my shop.  

Ithaca Fall Creek Gorge Collection of 5 waterfalls by Laura Jaen Smith
Ithaca Gorge Collection, (5) 6x6 acrylic on wood panel, 2018
Ithaca Falls by Laura Jaen Smith. Framed acrylic landscape painting of Fall Creek Gorge waterfall from 50 NY Waterfalls series.
Ithaca Falls, framed acrylic on wood panel, 2018

At the time that I listed the collection, Ithaca Falls was part of my solo Waterfalls of the Finger Lakes show,  however it is now available framed in my shop as well to fully complete the set. 

Resources & Further Learning

Leave a Reply