Just below the bridge, on the south side, is a path by which one may descend to the bottom of the gorge and, if the water is not too high, follow its course, dry shod, to another large falls just above the suspension bridge. Below this falls is a great pool that in recent years has been favorite swimming place for the Summer Session students. This pool presents a quite animated appearance on a hot July afternoon, when a hundred or more bathers and divers may be disporting themselves at the same hour.
-- From page 444 of Concerning Cornell, by O.D. Von Engeln '08. Published in 1924.
Update: Reader JW writes in to call attention to a passage on the very next page of Von Engeln's book, pointing out a safety concern that Cornell has yet to fence off:
From the brink of the rock wall, above the Ithaca Falls, Cayuga Lake is one more visible and invites a voyage on its waters. If one yields to its lure, bear this warning in mind: Do not venture on Cayuga Lake in any craft that is liable to upset from its own crankiness, from waves or wind, unless you are willing to wear a life-preserver that will support your inert body indefinitely. It will not avail that you are a strong swimmer, the open waters of Cayuga are almost icy cold the year round and soon numb the efforts of the most hardy. Hence almost every year is marred by one or more tragic drownings.
Gee, doesn't the Cornell Crew team often practice on the open waters of Cayuga?