Town of Pendleton
When first discovered, the falls were a natural wonder. In the midst of a dense forest flowed a pristine creek cascading over terraces of magnificent stone.
According to legend, Native Americans believed the area around the falls offered a sanctuary from violent storms. No tornado or windstorm could ever strike in this valley. No one knows the legend's rationale, but perhaps it is because of the contour of the Fall Creek valley and the peculiar course of the stream along the west edge of what is now Pendleton.
The natural falls gave this area its identity. Early on, the emerging settlement was even called The Falls. The falls' waterpower gave pioneers cause to settle here. The falls powered mills to grind grain for bread, to saw wood for cabins, and to make cloth for clothing.
John Rogers, the community's first settler, arrived on Dec. 29, 1818, choosing land a half mile east of the falls. Seven more families, all from Springfield, Ohio, arrived in 1820.
The location was ideal: a waterfall providing power and water, and a ford providing access for tradesmen and others traveling from Conner Prairie and points south to Fort Wayne and points north.
The significance of waterpower was gradually diminished by the discovery of natural gas in east central Indiana
in 1886. Pendleton's industrial center moved from the falls to the top of the hill for good railroad access.
In 1920, the falls and the adjacent stone quarry became a park and a lake, their natural beauty once again drawing residents and visitors from miles around.