Heather Heddleson
Town Historian



By Appointment

Town History


Bluestone Industry


Schools in the Town

Sawkill Fire Co.

Sweet Meadows

Saint Ann's Church

Siemsen Tribute

Tales of the Town


This story was written by past historian Marie Siemsen and for those who can remember seeing the “Face in the Falls”.  It has been edited for legibility.  The Siemsen property was located across the Sawkill Creek and is now Arold Paving.

“In fear that the following facts might be construed as a publicity stunt to attract attention to our summer hotel guests at Thendara Lodge, we have been reluctant to even mention it to anyone but to those who know us personally and to whom there is no need for publicity.

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In our register under the date of September 6th 1925 appears the name Mr. and Mrs. H. Meyer, 112 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, New York.  Under the dates of August 15 and September 19, 1926 is the name Mrs. H. Meyer above the address.  During the winter of 1925 - 1926, Mrs. Meyer had suffered an illness and had come to Thendara Lodge to rest and recuperate.  While here, she, like many other guests, took pictures with a small camera.  Among the pictures was one of the falls located on our place, taken at a time when there was a good amount of water flowing, due to a summer storm.

In the winter of 1926 – 1927 Mrs. Meyer had a relapse and while seriously ill asked to see the pictures she had taken the previous summer.  While looking through the pictures she cried out, “Oh, I see father”.  Her father had been dead a number of years.  Her daughter and those present rushed to her side thinking that she was dying.   Instead, she had found the “Face in the Falls”.

On close examination it proved such a good likeness of her father that they had the “Face” enlarged.  It was considered by those who knew Mrs. Meyer’s father, the best picture they had of him.

Knowing that we would be interested in the picture they sent us the negative and it shows the falls to a good advantage, with the added attraction, without telling the story to other then our personal friends.

This is not being written for any publicity but as a matter of record.”

In the early days of the bluestone era there were many tales and superstitions to explain everyday occurrences.  Here are some tales found from the records of past historian Harry Siemsen.

There are many legends and folktales which have been recorded by former historian, Harry Siemsen.  One of Sawkill’s favorites is “Hallihan’s Hill Headless Barber”.  It seems there was a headless body of a man, fully clothed, walking about with a bloody stump protruding from the collar of his coat.  Held securely upright underneath his left arm was his head.  In that hand he carried a lantern.  In his right hand he held a large open-bladed razor.  Some said the lantern was burning and the razor was bloody.   Most said they never got close enough to find out.  There were, of course, individuals who doubted this.  One of the McGuire boys said that if he ever met this headless fellow, “He’d have all the answers or else!”  His chance came a short time later and true to his word he stood his ground til the apparition was but a few feet away from him.  As Mr. McGuire later stated, “I could stand the glare of his eyes, but when I’d see’d his lip move and heard the head say, “McGuire, ye be needing a shave”, I got out of there!!”

Located in the bank beneath St. Ann’s Church is a cave.  Legend has it that this is the home of the “Lady in Black” seen many a night wandering around St. Ann’s cemetery.

She was seen by some wearing a heavy veil about her head.  It is said she entered and left the cave that exists beneath the church.

Paul Matthew’s teacher, of Jockey Hill School, around 1907-1908, said he had gone into the cave located under the church.  The narrow passage widened out and he was finally able to walk upright.  He descended the stairs and came to a glass door.  It was impossible to move the door.  He became frightened by the gloom and feeling of foreboding in the cave.  He left swearing never to enter it again.

As told by Lew Long...

Mr. Long said his father had told him there was a place on the road that goes from the four corners in Zena to what is now Route 28 that was witched.

His father as well as many others said that if you stopped at this place the horses could not get the wagons rolling again.

It happened to his father once.  He stopped to give the horses a blow (a rest) and when he wanted to go on the horses could not move the wagon, try as they might.

Then he remembered what the old folks had told him.  “Put your hat on back-wards.”

This he did and the horses moved as if there were not load at all.

Morey Hill Road, near the steep part of the road near the junction of Route 28, once had the nickname “Ghost Rock”.  The name “Ghost Rock” came from the fact that at times strange sounds seemed to come from “the Rock”.  There are those who say the sounds were only the echoes of the noises coming from the “Hollow”.  However, anyone with a bit of the “know” would tell you differently.  There was plenty of noise when a dance was going on at Maddens Hall or at the Temperance Hall but never could it be heard this far in the “Hollow”.   It was at the Rock that old Mr. Mc Creiff said, “the hands lay hold of him o’nights and would not let him leave the “Hill”.