By Andy Dabczynski
One of the most popular footpaths in the Saco Bay Trails network is the Cascade Falls Trail, maintained in partnership with the City of Saco. Located just a quarter mile off Route 1 on Cascade Rd. (Route 98), it will be the site of SBT’s “Fairy House Building Day,” on July 22. How appropriate that the backdrop for that magical event will be what is known as “the best waterfall along the southern Maine coastline.”
Cascade Falls has a unique and rich history. A favored fishing and camping spot for generations of Native Americans along Cascade Brook, it later was the site of a slate mine that operated until the late 1800’s. The falls served as the location for a 1921 silent film called “The Girl from Porcupine,” according to Old Orchard Beach historian Dan Blaney.
In 1928, the Cascade Lodge and Cabins — later known as the Cascade Inn — was opened nearby on Route 1, and a park was developed within the 65 acres surrounding the falls. The lodge had a ballroom and large dining areas on the first floor, and offered accommodations on the second floor. Additional lodging was available in the sixteen private single and double cabins surrounding the building. The restaurant boasted Maine shore dinners served on linen tablecloths. It is said that some 100,000 lobsters were offered up each summer. Entertainments on the property included summertime picnics and parties and wild animals in cages. The inn and restaurant remained open throughout the 20th century. When the Cascade Inn and property was sold by its owners the Aube family to Elliot Chamberlain in 2005, Mr. Chamberlain generously donated 14 acres of land surrounding the falls to the City of Saco.
Saco Bay Trails invites you to bring your family, explore the trails around Cascade Falls throughout the year. And enjoy making Fairy Houses with us on July 22!
Historic Photo from Maine Memory Network: Cascade Lodge and Cabins — https://www.mainememory.net/artifact/71731