Down East 2013 ©
Long before this western Maine community became renowned for its paper mill, the St. Francis Indians would gather at these powerful falls to spear salmon. The fish found the cataracts above difficult to pass and they massed here, making for easy hunting. The big river drops 177 feet along this stretch in one of the Pine Tree State’s most impressive cascades. Those same hydraulics were what lured the first permanent settlers to the region in 1800, and they were quick to harness the falls. Grist and sawmills went in, and a paper mill was built in 1893. This was the consummate company town, which brought with it prosperity for many — the beautiful Victorian architecture downtown shows this well — but it had its problems, too. People avoided the river for decades because of the pollution sloshing downstream from the mills and other industries. Former presidential candidate Edmund Muskie, a famous champion of the environment, would no doubt be pleased to see how the river’s been cleaned up — and to see people enjoying this little town park on a July day. Send us a note at P.O. Box 679, Camden, ME 04843; fire off an email to email@example.com  or post a comment at DownEast.com if you can identify this picturesque place.