Until 2019, Eastatoe Falls was a breath of fresh air among privately owned waterfalls. Not only did the owners allow access, they let you drive on their driveway and park in their yard. Sadly, public access is no longer allowed. The previous owners still own the house and the yard where visitors parked, but the waterfall is part of a small tract they sold. The new owners have closed the waterfall for now.
Before you start vilifying the new owners, you should know that this isn’t a situation of some selfish greedy couple snatching up a waterfall so they can have it all to themselves. I’ve spoken with them and I know this is not the case. They have legitimate concerns, some of them made all too clear by social media posts that reveal disrespectful and irresponsible visitors. Hopefully, these matters can be worked out and public visitation in some form can resume.
One legend says that Eastatoe was the Cherokee name for the Carolina parakeet. The local Eastatoe tribe was supposedly known as “the Green Bird People,” in reference to the bird’s colorful plumage. I haven’t been able to find evidence this is anything more than folklore, but I haven’t found anything that disproves it either. I do know that Carolina parakeets were once common across the East. But after being hunted for their plumage, captured for sale as pets, and shot for their habit of destroying orchards, they became extinct in 1918, when the last bird died at the Cincinnati Zoo.
In The Land of Waterfalls, Jim Bob Tinsley cites the early names for Eastatoe Falls: Will Hines Falls, after the man who built a gristmill at the falls in 1854; Meadow Falls, after the craft shop that once operated beside the house; Shoal Creek Falls, after the name of the stream; and Rosman Falls, after the nearby town.