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Alpha Falls, also known as Gardiner Falls, is the mouth of the valley leading from Alpha Pass. The falls most likely formed after lake drainage through Alpha Pass was complete. Later lake drainage eroded the main gorge to its present level, leaving the valley above the falls "hanging" along the gorge wall. Many waterfalls along the walls of the gorge are at the mouths of similar "hanging valleys."This photo was taken in McConnells Mill on June 28, 2009.
Almost none of the Homewood Sandstone has been eroded at the top of the falls, suggesting that the valley has never had much flow since glacial lake drainage ceased.
Source, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Web Site. July 23, 2009.
The story behind how Hell's Hollow got its name is more rumor than fact. It involves a Civil War soldier who somehow became lost in Slippery Rock Gorge. The gorge was a very wild place in 1860s, with bears, elk, and coyotes inhabiting the area. When the lost soldier finally found a route out of the gorge, supposedly via Hell Run, he told tall tales of how he had barely survived the journey through hell by escaping from large animals that lurked everywhere within the gorge's shadow-filled hollows... Source, Pennsylvania Waterfalls, Scott E. Brown. P. 142Obviously a variation of the previously posted stories. They do seem to be derived from the same theme; a traveler getting lost within the gorge and 'escaping' via Hells Hollow... a Dante's Inferno of sorts.
"Hell's Hollow" was named by the early settlers, and is an extremely suggestive appellation, for a gloomier place can hardly be found. It is related that the origin of the name comes from the fact that a traveler in an early day became benighted and passed the night in the hollow. When asked the next day where he had slept, answered that he "didn't know, unless it was in hell!" http://www.usgwarchives.org/pa/lawrence/1877/sliprock.htm, History of Lawrence County Pennsylvania, 1770 - 1877, by S.W. and P.A. Durant.In another version, the blazing iron and lime furnaces at the time convinced the lost traveler that he had wondered into Hell itself.
Sweetapple TrailsPhotos from McConnells Mill and Moraine State Parks in Pennsylvania.
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