Sunday, November 19, 2006

"Fine Views About Waterville"

Fine Views About Waterville

by Amos O. Osborn

from the Waterville Times, August 24, 1876.

If any of the people of Waterville are at a loss what to visit or where to go in the neighborhood, either for a picnic or to gratify a love for the beautiful in nature, they may find such places within half an hour's ride of the village. The prettiest place for rock and brook scenery is in the east glen or ravine, which may be entered at the residence of Samuel Blair on the road to Hard Scrabble. The main ravine, which is the east one, entered farthest from Blair's house, has two branches, both of which begin on the southerly side of Tassel Hill not more than one hundred and fifty feet from the extreme top, and they come together at a beautiful waterfall twenty in elevation and about eighty rods north of the site of the old sawmill. There are two or three smaller waterfalls above and below and there is a rapidly ascending rock-bed throughout the whole ravine. New views appear at every turn of the brook and all are pretty and sufficiently varied. The place is everywhere shaded with forest trees and shrubbery and is delightfully cool this hot weather. Of course, at this season there is very little water running, making it easy to walk although in places somewhat slippery. For drinking, there is near the first fall an abundant spring of cold water standing at 48 degrees, coming from the rocks eighteen or twenty feet above, and the water of the brook at 65 degrees is pure and sweet to drink. Very nearly the same description may be given of the ravine immediately north and nearest the place of entrance at Blair's house, although not on the whole so fine. Should a party wish to visit Tassel Hill, and feel able to walk a mile of the distance, this whole glen could be traversed from Blair's to their sources. The conveyances after leaving them there, could go around by the road, and return with the party from the north side of the summit at Williams'. In this way they could satisfactorily see the whole of the ravine and have the splendid mountain view from the hill. An additional interest is given to this place from the fact that it all passes over the Marcellus shale. Indeed, this important subdivision in the classification of the rocks of the State can all be seen by tracing it up the Mark Harvey brook, and these ravines from the "coal" seam and thro' a distance of over two miles, and to an elevation of seven hundred feet to the top of Tassel Hill. In the bed of the creek, in both ravines and branches, are found many of its charactaristic fossils, and the septeria (petrified turtles) found in it, all through the State, are here quite abundant five hundred feet above its base.

Another view of very fine and wilder rock scenery may be had at the waterfall on the creek running northerly near the residence of Michael Saunders and coming into clearing on land belonging to James Young. This waterfall is on a scale of greater magnitude, being about eighty feet high and flanked with corresponding precipices belonging to the upper series of the same group of rocks. A person wishing to visit this place might go by way of the residence of James Young, stopping to take a drink at his well, which is three degrees colder than any well in Waterville, being 45 degrees. (The Waterville water is 48 degrees this time of year.)

There is still another ravine, on a much smaller scale, very near the road on the east branch of the creek running through the same land and near the school house at Riley's.

Another place well worth visiting is on the outlet of Bailey's pond, in the south part of the town, on the farm of E.W. Beebe. This ravine may be entered at the old sawmill a few rods south of the residence of W.O. Gorton. Here the perpendicular fall is not far from seventy feet and the rocks about it still higher in the Hamilton series, present a broken and jagged appearance. The rock forming all these waterfalls contains in great numbers the fossil known to geologists as the curtain fucoid of the Hamilton group, and is readily seen at a glance. Being harder than the rocks above and below, time and wear have given them their precipitous character. The highest or second fucoid fall in ascending is four hundred feet above the "coal" seam on Silas Clark's land near the village, and this seam is only some six or eight feet above the corniferous limestone.

There is a pretty waterfall not much further off in Marshall on what is there called Turkey Creek; and as it is on another rock - the waterlime - and has a peculiar interest scientifically, is it well worth a visit. In season this is a good trout brook.

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