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York County’s Wildcat Falls former peaceful Susquehanna River picnic venue

The Wildcat Falls Hotel is marked as such in this undated photo. The falls (see photo below) was a popular picnic destination. Its water rushed down a York County, Pa., hillside across the Susquehanna River from Marietta in Lancaster County. The river road is at left. Also of interest: The things you learn from reading local history and Opportunities in York County to feed your sense of discovery and Absorbing photo and overlay shows locations of six Susquehanna bridges.

York Daily Record photographer Bil Bowden was doing some sleuthing, looking up the once-popular-but-now-little-known Wildcat Falls area, north of Wrightsville.

A picnic area and hotel once operated there, and among other tourists, people crossed the river from Marietta to enjoy the destination… .

Bil reports that the hotel burned in the 1920s, according to the owner of the home that now sits beside the stream. The area is now in private hands, and Bil reports that a dozen people a month stop by for permission to photograph the falls.

Wildcat Falls is one of the river landmarks featured in Frederic H. Abendschein’s recent Arcadia Publishing book “Columbia, Marietta, and Wrightsville.” (To see additional photos and information on the falls, visit: “Columbia, Marietta, Wrightsville’ book feeds your sense of discovery.”)

An interesting footnote to all this: The book notes that the Marietta Gravity Water Company gathered water from the west bank hills and piped it under the river for use in Marietta.
That ties to a history of Camp Betty Washington in the files of the York County Heritage Trust. The Episcopal Church camp that loaned its name to the road intersecting with Mount Rose Avenue originally was located in those same hills.
But it moved from the Susquehanna region because its operation polluted Marietta’s water supply.
Edited, 5/15/13