Cumberland Falls State Park
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My mother, Glenna E. Martin, worked at the Cumberland Falls Restaurant in 1952 prior to her marriage to my father, Elvis Dean Kidd. Lasting friendships and memories were made amid the hustle and bustle of work and the natural beauty of the park. Mom enjoyed her work at Cumberland Falls and often commented on the interesting visitors from across the United States and around the world. One of the stories shared by mom was that in the 1940s and 1950s visitors could walk underneath the falls as part of a tour offered by the park service. Tourists were in awe of the virulent cascade of water as seen from underneath the falls although they left wet from the spray. Walking underneath the falls is no longer possible due to erosion of the narrow pathway and hazardous conditions due to slippery rocks.
Until the late 1950s, a natural sandstone beach was open to the public. The beach was resplendent and included a U-shaped boardwalk, umbrellas, and bath house. The bath house and beach area were closed in the 1950s due to flooding and safety concerns of the currents. Swimming is no longer permitted above or below the falls. The foundation stones of the bath house and boardwalk, however, are still visible today.
Cumberland Falls was donated to Kentucky by the family of T. Coleman Dupont who bought the falls and 539 surrounding acres upon the recommendation of Robert Blair, founder of the Cumberland Falls Preservation Association. On March 10, 1930, the Kentucky House and Senate voted to accept the land from the DuPont family despite a veto by Governor Flem D. Sampson. Cumberland Falls State Park officially opened September 7, 1931. This was a huge victory for preservationists since proposals in the 1920s and 1950s were made for a hydroelectric power station to be built above the falls. These proposals also included diverting the Cumberland River through a mountain tunnel ending below the falls.
It is my sincere wish that we, as residents of McCreary County, strive to protect and preserve this beautiful place we call home. For additional information or comments email firstname.lastname@example.org.