The gift shop/visitor center is located next to a small pond and encompassed by mountain scenery.
On the evening of August 28, 1826 massive flooding occurred after a period of drought followed by torrential rains. Most of the main bridges in the area were washed out and many landslides ensued on the mountain slopes. The Willey family owned the house in this location. After the flooding visits to the house found it undamaged as the landslide went around the house causing no damage. Samuel J. Willey, his wife, five children and two hired hands were no where to be found. There was evidence of a hurried departure but no sign of the people. The bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Willey and two of their children were later found in the valance debris. It is surmised that they tried to escape the landslide and became caught in the conflagration. After the disaster the house and the notch itself became a major tourist attraction as people were drawn to the remaining house and the story of human tragedy it represented.