Saco River, New England
Is one of the largest in New England, yet being much broken in its course by falls, is not navigable to any considerable extent. It springs from three sources in the White mountains: the branch issuing from the southwest side of the mountains, near the Notch, is considered the main stream; next to this is the middle branch, which is the smallest; and beyond is the branch called Ellis's river, which rises on the northeast side of the mountains, and after a course of about eighteen miles, unites with the main branch in the town of Bartlett. Cutler's and New river are mountain torrents that discharge into the Ellis. The Ammonoosuck, a branch of the Connecticut, rises within about two rods of the Saco, flowing in an opposite direction. The whole length of Saco river is estimated to be 160 miles; running in its general course S.S.E., and discharging into the sea in N. latitude 43°31', W. longitude 70°26'. The principal falls are, the Great Falls, at Hiram, where the water descends 72 feet; Steep Falls, at Limington, 20 feet; Salmon Falls, at Hollis and Buxton, 30 feet; and Saco Falls, 42 feet. The latter are about 4 miles from the mouth of the river. The ordinary rise of the water, in the spring, is from 10 to 15 feet, but in great freshets it has been known greatly to exceed that number. A long storm which occurred in October, 1785, raised the river to an immense height, sweeping away mills and bridges, and inundating houses that stood in its vicinity. In 1814, there was the greatest freshet known since that of 1785. At such seasons the appearance of Saco Falls is truly sublime.