Days Gone By - stories from the past

Extreme Kayakers test their fate & the reason for the Masonic Monument at Noccalula Falls is unveiled

Some extreme kayakers tested their fate in the video below in 2011 when they went over the 90-foot waterfall in their kayaks. I wonder if they saw the Indian princess from the Legend of Black Creek Falls as related below.

Noccalula Falls is located on land once owned by R. A. Mitchell, who gave the site to the city of Gadsden. The main feature of the park is the notable 90-foot waterfall with a gorge trail winding through its basin and past caves, an aboriginal fort, an abandoned dam, pioneer homestead and Civil War carvings.

Photograph of Black Creek Falls (Noccalula Falls) ca. 1880 when they were frozenBlack_Creek_Falls_now_Noccalula_Falls_near_Gadsden_Alabama (1)

 Photograph of Black Creek Falls (Noccalula Falls) ca. 1930Noccalula_Falls_near_Gadsden_Alabama

A recent addition to the Park is the addition of a Masonic Obelisk. Some people have wondered about its placement in the park and have even suggested a nefarious purpose as in the video below.

An April 23rd, 2009 news article in the Gadsden Times provides the answer as to why it was placed there.

The Etowah County Past Masters Masonic Association will hold a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday at Noccalula Falls.

The obelisk located behind the statue of Princess Noccalula was dedicated in honor of the six men from Etowah County, Alabama who served as state Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of  Free & Accepted Masons of Alabama

They were:

  1. James Andrew Bilbro (1896-97),
  2. Lawrence H. Lee (1909-10),
  3. Samuel A. Moore (1933-34),
  4. Fred W. Vaughan, (1965-66),
  5. Marvin P. Lynn (1970-71)
  6. Jerry M. Underwood (1998-99).

The ceremony was open to the public.

As you can see there isn’t anything nefarious about it. The reason is actually inscribed and visible on the monument.

It was only placed there to honor some outstanding men in the local community.  You can read a biography on each of these men and more about the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Alabama in the book,

The Grand Masters of Free & Accepted Masons of the State of Alabama 1811-2011  (on sale now at Amazon)


The Legend of Black Creek Falls (Noccalula Falls)

 “Long ago, on a mountain summit within sight and sound of a rushing waterfall, lived a great Indian Chief whose young daughter, Noccalula, was famed far and wide for her beauty and loveliness of character. Many gallant braves sought the old chief for the hand of Noccalula, but only one was favored by the girl’s father, a rich chief of a powerful neighboring tribe, who had much to offer in exchange: wampum, horses, and blankets.

Vainly Noccalula pleaded that her heart was already given to a young brave of her own tribe. But this young warrior, though noted for his skill and valor, possessed little in worldly goods. The old chief refused to listen and ordered his daughter to make ready for the marriage he had arranged. What was a maiden’s silly fancy against many horses, much wampum and union with another strong tribe?

The girl’s lover was driven from the tribe, and a marriage agreement was made with the neighboring chief. The wedding day came and a great feast was prepared. In silence Noccalula allowed herself to be arrayed in festive wedding robes. It was incredible!…To be sold to a stranger by the father she loved! Her chosen lover forever banished!

Overcome with grief, she quietly slipped away from the merrymakers during the festivities..the soft rhythmical rush of waters called her…a moment she stood poised upon the brink of the yawning chasm. One leap – and her troubles were over. Heartbroken, the remorseful father gave the great cataract his daughter’s name. Since that day the waterfall has been called Noccalula.”  (The Legend of Black Creek Falls was originally written by Mathilde Bilbro)

Here is a beautiful video of Noccalula Falls from unique perspectives. It must have been made with a drone because it gives unusual views directly over the Falls. The obelisk and Indian Princess are clearly seen.  Its a little long but worth watching. Enjoy!


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More Books by Alabama Author Donna R. Causey

About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and All her books can be purchased at and Barnes & Noble. She has authored numerous genealogy books. RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE) is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2) is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series) Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1) is the continuation of the story. . For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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  1. […] Their house changed hands to a couple named Gabriel and Asenath Hughes in 1840. Shortly thereafter, they began to purchase much of the land between Lookout Mountain, the Coosa River, and down to the mouth of Wills Creek. […]

  2. Great read & the video of the falls is stunning!

  3. I went to RA Mitchell Elementary School across from the falls through 4th grade (1964)and our Girl Scout troop met at the falls every time. Nice article.

  4. Teresa Berry Hollon and Michele Lee Berry, this is the building we went in on our Halloween/ghost tour.

  5. What was the name of the Warrior Noculla was in love with?

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