Nestled in the heart of Missouri, four tribes shared a natural spring and lived in harmony close to each other. Legend says that an Indian girl who fell in love with a warrior from another tribe. Because their tribes lived in close proximity, the girl and her lover met at the mouth of a waterfall in secret, often at night or while her father, the Chief, was away from their village.
One night the Chiefs from the two tribes met and decided to put an end to this affair. During the confrontation, the girl became inconsolable and distraught. She turned away from her father and walked to the edge of the falls. Saying that she didn’t want to live if she couldn’t be with her lover, she stepped over the rocks and jumped into the river. The neighboring tribes could hear her screams as her body hit rocks and she tumbled into the chasm, reappearing at the bottom, her body a tangled mess of bloody clothes and broken bones.
The warrior was so heartbroken that he went to the falls every night with a bouquet of laurels, a symbol of immortality and his eternal love for the girl.
Eventually, the tribes moved on, but the legend remained, and the town was officially named Laurel Falls in the late 1800s. It is best known for the waters that spring from the ground just north of town, crashing down into a small pond, which feeds into a lazy river that flows through town into the Grand River farther to the south. A sense of peace flows over people when they visit Laurel Falls, in the same way some people are calmed by the tides and the sounds of the ocean.