The Local Folklore Behind This West Paris Waterfall Casts a Violent Light on a Beautiful Place
Snow Falls in West Paris, Maine flows alongside a former picnic and rest area. The falls are ranked among the top waterfalls in Maine, despite it being smaller than many of Maine's waterfalls and lacking a refreshing swimming hole. Perhaps the popularity of this spot stems not from it's size or utility, but from the two-centuries old local folklore of how it earned it's name.
According to blogger @dlsoucy on Maine History News, there are many stories surrounding Snow Falls, but only one bears a shred of truth. As the story goes, Captain Snow, the waterfall's namesake, and his counterpart Mr. Stinchfield had settled in the area surrounding Snow Falls and were hunting and trapping along the stream when a group of Native Americans raided the area.
As reported by Elijah Hamlin in the first issue of the Oxford Observer (1824), "Snow, who was aware of the horrible sufferings to which they doomed their prisoners, replied that he never would surrender himself alive; that it was better to perish there than at the stake..." In the battle that followed, Captain Snow slayed the Chief with his musket only to be faced with death himself. Elijah Hamlin wrote, "Before Snow could recover the camp or make another movement of offence, he himself was slain and cut in pieces by the whole party, who had hung themselves at once in fury upon him."
There's more to the story of Snow Falls, having once been the site of a mill, a chair manufacturer, and other businesses once upon a time. Casual adventurers still love to stop at the waterfall for a quick visit as they venture through the South Paris region.