Triphammer Lower Falls Waterfall Wednesday blog cover
Painting Series,  Waterfall Wednesday

Waterfall Wednesday: Lower Triphammer Falls

Lower Triphammer Falls by Laura Jaen Smith. Acrylic landscape painting of Fall Creek Gorge waterfall Ithaca from 50 NY Waterfalls Project.
Lower Triphammer Falls, 6x6 acrylic on wood panel, 2018

I’m excited to share about this waterfall today!  Do you know why?  It’s part of my favorite painting collection from my recent project of 50 New York waterfalls!  What makes it my favorite?  (I’m starting to feel like I’m interviewing myself now.)  Each waterfall in the gorge had its own name!  They are also all beautiful as stand-alone paintings and many of them have interesting buildings around them.  

Photo of top of Fall Creek Gorge towards Cayuga Lake Ithaca NY by Laura Jaen Smith
Overlooking Ithaca Falls, photograph, 2018

This waterfall I am talking about today is Lower Triphammer Falls from Ithaca Gorge in Ithaca, New York.  This gorge is tucked within the Cornell University campus between Beebe Lake at the top all the way to Ithaca Falls at the bottom which later runs into Cayuga Lake.  

In the picture, this is the view overlooking where Ithaca Falls drops from the bridge opposite Forest Falls.  In the distance is the end of Cayuga Lake.  There will be more coming on both of those falls, as well as the three other waterfalls that are part of this gorge – Rocky Falls, Foaming Falls, and Upper Triphammer Falls – at a later point.  But just look at that view!

Lower Triphammer Falls is considered an urban waterfall as it is in the middle of the city of Ithaca.  The best view can be found on the bridge at the intersection of University Avenue and East Avenue.  The waterfall drops 55 feet and flows through Fall Creek.  Something fun I learned while researching, Fall Creek originates up close to where Fillmore Glen State Park is located in Moravia, NY (I shared about this park just a couple weeks ago).  

Photo of Triphammer Falls Lower Fall Creek Gorge by Laura Jaen Smith
Triphammer Falls, photograph, 2018

Historic Findings

This waterfall used to be the site of a hydraulic lab.  More specifically, it was the Cornell University College of Engineering Hydraulic Lab developed by dean of the department, Estavan Antonio Fuentes, and built in 1898.  The lab was built for the leading experts in hydraulic engineering to be able to study the power of water and its many physical properties.  

The building was said to resemble a 12th century Florentine castle.  Unfortunately the building no longer stands today.  In the 1960’s it was left abandoned from damage (possibly due to flooding) and went to ruins.  In 2009 the building collapsed completely into the creek.  You can see the difference between the picture I took this summer and one from the internet taken 15 years ago.  I’m disappointed I missed seeing it in person. 

Photo of Triphammer Falls Lower Fall Creek Gorge by Laura Jaen Smith
Photo care of (link below in resources), 2003

The Painting

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 so I listed them together in the shop!  I put two different ways to possibly display them as a whole collection – my personal favorite is the vertical display that could go on a skinnier wall OR maybe something fun mixed in with family hiking pictures or Cornell grad photos.  I’m full of ideas if you’re needing some!

And for those familiar to the area, or who paid extra attention in the beginning of the post, Ithaca Falls is not listed as part of the collection – partly because it’s separated from the Cornell campus a little, but mostly because it is already framed and on display at the Waterfalls of the Finger Lakes show in downtown Corning currently.  If you’re interested in the entire collection including Ithaca Falls let me know and I can get you the information for The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes who would be handling the transaction for the Ithaca Falls painting. 

Fall Creek Gorge Collection by Laura Jaen Smith. 5 acrylic paintings of waterfalls - Triphammer Falls, Rocky Falls, Forest Falls, Foaming Falls.
Ithaca Gorge Collection (Top): Upper Triphammer Falls, Rocky Falls, Forest Falls; (Bottom): Lower Triphammer Falls, Foaming Falls
Fall Creek Gorge Collection by Laura Jaen Smith. 5 acrylic landscape paintings of waterfalls Ithaca from 50 NY Waterfalls Project.
Ithaca Gorge Collection (Top to bottom): Upper Triphammer Falls, Lower Triphammer Falls, Rocky Falls, Foaming Falls, Forest Falls

Have you visited Ithaca Gorge before?  Any fall time adventures planned as the leaves are starting to change?

Resources & Further Learning

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