Three Rivers
History From America's Most Famous Valleys

Tumbling Waters
from a 1938 newspaper, unknown

Home of Guy Beardslee, East Creek. His home was a copy of an Irish Castle.
Local lore states that the power was offered to Little Falls and refused because there was a suspicion that electric power wouldn't run uphill.

The Indians held the waterfall in reverence. They believed it was a manifestation of the great spirit. They loved to linger in its neighborhood. At East Creek falls the Indians had their village and back down the ages the neighborhood of East Creek falls was occupied by red men. The coming of the white settlers brought a change. The proximity of the tavern with its deadly fire drove King Hendrick to a decision to remove forever from the romantic site to a more secluded spot and he chose Indian Castle across the river. But what the Indian recognized in the water fall as a symbol of religious manifestation, the white man recognized as a source of power, not to be worshipped as a deity but to be put to work as a servant to man. It remained for John Beardslee, a hard headed New Englander to develop the power. This he did in order to saw out the timbers which he used to build the covered bridge at East Creek in 1812. The next step in bringing East Creek power to the service of many was done by a grandson of the pioneer, Guy R. Beardslee, who was the first to dream of transmitting power to distant points by means of electricity developed from the power of the water fall at East Creek. And soon in 1898 the tumbling waters of east Creek became the power at the elbow of the workers in St. Johnsville and the lamp that guided them in their movements. And step by step St. Johnsville has climbed the ladder of progress, attended at each rung by the power of the water fall which the Indians worshipped but of which the white man rarely thinks.

We now step forth in a giant stride to a lighted business sector, so far removed from the feeble lights of the first power development that a century might have divided us instead of a mere 40 years. It is well that we pause momentarily and pay tribute to power which is ours, and the man who had the courage and vision to put it in motion.

We salute Guy R. Beardslee, the man who carried on in a new field, almost unexplored, that of electric energy developed by tumbling waters. We are glad Mr. Beardslee is still with us and that we are enabled to greet him in person and to congratulate him on the fulfillment of dreams which were conceived in youthful enthusiasm and carried out with persistence and energy which alone is the necessary correlation to couple dreams with fulfillment. We know something of the discouragements, the obstacles, the near catastrophes which best the pathway of the explorer into the untrod pathways of science. And here is satisfaction in the knowledge that St. Johnsville stood by and advanced step by step with the experiment in hydroelectric energy developed nearby.

As we look back now we realize how necessary to our progress was the genius at East Creek. Without him we could not progress. It is also good to know that we as a community have played an important part in the success which came to Mr. Beardslee, for without our cooperation, his dreams might have remained dreams or been rudely shattered. An so on this date in the fall of 1938 we turn to Mr. Beardslee in his Florida home and say, "Thank you, Mr. Beardlsee for your share in our progress. We wish you a pleasant winter and trust that when the birds fly north next spring you will be on hand to witness the "Little White Way" of St. Johnsville and realize that this is the fulfillment of ambitions which in 1898 you alone foresaw." For the "Little White Way" with its flood of white light is but the manifestation of dreams come true and a converted form of the tumbling waters which the Indians contemplated with reverent awe and which we of today would do well to pay come form of respect-- for who can say but that the Great Spirit is manifest in the magic of the white light, even as it was in the foaming current to which the Red Man paid reverence.

3/01, Town Historian Anita Smith said: "Mr. Beardslee talked to Frederick Engelhardt and put the first electric motor in the "Peerless" piano factory in St. Johnsville in 1898. This encouraged others to use electric power."

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