Thursday, July 20, 2023

Seventy Six, Kentucky

One of the most beautiful spots in Clinton County, Kentucky is Seventy Six Falls, located six miles north of Albany on beautiful Lake Cumberland. It is not known positively who the first white man was that discovered the falls, but it may have been the first families, namely Smith, Stock­ton or Wood, who settled at Stockton Valley after 1795 that ventured as far north as the falls.

During Clinton County's sesquicentennial celebration in 1986, Jim Deforest wrote in the Mountain Echo newspaper that, contrary to popular belief, Seventy-Six Falls was never 76 feet high, and it did not get its name from its height. The falls, he said, were between 83 and 84 feet high until the formation of Lake Cumberland in 1950, which reduced it to its present height of about 44 feet.

In his book, "Early Times in Clinton County," Jack Ferguson wrote that the name was derived from the station number in the original survey, where the members of the surveying party had built a shop and lodging quarters near the top of the precipice.

The water that pours over the falls is known as Indian Creek. This spot has been the scene of recreation ever since the horse and buggy days. Back then, there was a croquet court above the falls. On Sunday afternoons youth from all over the county gathered there to play croquet or sit around and watch others play.

As early as 1806, John Semple originally purchased the land near the falls and laid it off into 116 city lots, hoping to start the town, but his dream didn't come true for himself, as he died in 1824. While a town never materialized, there was a village. According to Ella Nunn, who was born at Seventy Six, in 1864, John C. Andrews, Frethias Andrews and Cyrus Wells would later buy the land around the falls, enlarge a gristmill that was already there and add a sawmill, a blacksmith shop and other improvements. Dr. Add Aaron operated a general store a little farther up the creek. The village flourished very well for over half a century as people came from all around to have their lumber sawed and wheat and corn ground, as there was no other gristmill around closer than Albany. Eventually, though, the village faded away.

The most notable person from Seventy Six was Edgar Paul Warinner, who served in the Kentucky state senate from 1951 to 1959. "Ed P" was born at Seventy Six on Aug. 18, 1909. Among his titles was farmer, railroad clerk and owner of a motel, service station, boat dock and grocery. He was born at Seventy-Six on August 18, 1909 and died on June 20, 1959. He is buried at Albany Cemetery.

Lake Cumberland was originally impounded from the Cumberland River in 1952 with the building of Wolf Creek Dam. A year later, James H. McKinley wrote, "when I was a teenager and used to climb the steep grade from the foot of the Seventy-Six Falls, I didn't know that some day I'd go to the top of these falls in a boat. When I used to swim in the seven-foot swimming hole on Ind­ian Creek I didn't know that some day it would be a 77-foot swimming hole. No one could have ever made me believe that some day I would catch a fish 100 feet above aunt Ann Ellen Grider's chimney.

The village, mill and all of the buildings are long gone, but the beauty of Seventy Six Falls still remains.

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