Tag Archives: niagara falls

Amazing Frozen Niagara Falls Video

See more amazing photos of a frozen Niagara Falls from over 100 years ago in the Huffington Post story below.

The winter chill might have most travellers thinking twice about venturing outside to visit Niagara Falls, but it wasn’t always like that.

If anything, these vintage photos suggest there might have even been a time when people enjoyed travelling out in the cold to marvel at the three waterfalls.

niagara falls frozen

This typical Christmas card setting shows the Falls beginning to freeze. Dec. 21, 1937.


Like many outdoors attractions, the crowds tend to go into hibernation once the mercury begins to dip below freezing.

niagara falls frozen

1859: Niagara Falls during the winter as seen from Goat Island. Luna Island stands in the middle of the cascade, known as the American or Rainbow Falls, and Prospect Point can be seen in the background.


But there seems to be some renewed interest as of late. January’s sub-zero temperatures were apparently enough to freeze parts of the Falls, making for pretty photos and renewed interest among potential tourists, according to the Toronto Sun.

niagara falls frozen

Niagara Falls taken over by freezing weather during the winter of 1936. The temperatures were exceptional cold, enough to stop the torrential falls seen near Lewiston, N.Y. The pressure of the ice demolished some nearby cabins. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)


While certainly cold, the temperatures weren’t low enough to encase all three waterfalls in ice, NBC reports.

Nevertheless, the attention has pushed the Niagara region into the spotlight — which, conveniently, is in the middle of a lights festival featuring 125 animated lighting displays and three million tree and ground lights, according to the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Light’s website.

niagara falls frozen

A panoramic view of the frozen Niagara Falls by the Canada-U.S. border.(Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)


niagara falls frozen
CIRCA 1903: A lone adventurer stand on an ice dome beneath the frozen Niagara Falls. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

niagara falls frozen

UNITED STATES – CIRCA 1936: Niagara Falls frozen during the winter of 1936 (Photo by Imagno/Getty Images)


And here’s a more recent photo for comparison:
niagara falls frozen

ONTARIO, CANADA – JANUARY 9: A view of the Niagara Falls frozen over due to the extreme cold weather, Ontario, Canada, January 9, 2014. The Polar Vortex brought record cold temperatures to United States and Canada. (Photo by Seyit Aydogan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Originally posted 2014-01-12 19:34:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Niagara Falls Melting Ice Expected To Bring Spectacular Water Rushing Over Falls Spring 2014

Sources indicate that the frozen Niagara Falls is likely to bring spectacular rushes of water for visitors as the ice thaws during the Spring of 2014.  This should make for spectacular sights for Niagara Falls visitors in 2014.

Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls is one of most popular attractions in New York and around the world. The majestic power of immense volumes of water spilling over the falls and plunging to the rocks and river below is an awesome physical and visual experience, which is rarely matched elsewhere.

Niagara is far from the highest waterfall in the world, or even in New York. However, the rush of over 6 million cubic feet of water per minute, approaching the cascade at about 25 miles per hour, and plunging 70 to 190 feet across a distance of about 3000 feet, make it one of the natural wonders of the world. The varied patterns of flow across the wall of the waters’ decent easily capture your attention, and hold you almost hypnotized at times. Whether viewing from the side, the river below, or behind the falls, the experience of Niagara Falls is a powerful one, indeed.

The earliest report of Niagara Falls by Europeans (1604) comes from Samuel de Champlain on his first voyage to the New World in 1603. He traveled only as far as modern-day Montreal, but gathered information on features further upriver from Native Americans. On Niagara Falls he wrote “That there is a fall about a league wide, where a very large mass of water falls into said lake…” (translated from French; from Mason, 1921, Anthology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls).

The Geological Story—Basics
What you see today is not what Niagara Falls was in the past, or will be in the future. During the peak of the last great glaciation, the area of Niagara Falls was covered by over a mile’s thickness of glacial ice, which blanketed the region to southern New York, northern Pennsylvania and northern Ohio. As the ice retreated from the area around 16,000 years ago, waters draining the newly gouged out Great Lakes searched along a long escarpment extending through western New York to southern Ontario and beyond, for a low place to flow over.

Approximately 12,000 years ago water found a single low pathway through the “Niagara Escarpment”, and began to carve out a channel—the Niagara River. At that time, however, “Niagara Falls” was about seven miles downstream— Lewiston, NY and Queenston, Ontario. Over the last 12,000 years erosion of the resistant rocks that cap Niagara has allowed the Falls to migrate about 7 miles upstream, and form the high-walled Niagara Gorge along it’s former path.

Even today, Niagara Falls is estimated to be migrating upstream, on the order of one foot per year. At current rates of erosion and migration, the falls may reach softer, more easily erodible rocks (including shale and rock salt) upstream in about 15,000 years, leading to the end of a major waterfall along the Niagara River. And by some estimates, the river will erode back to Lake Erie in roughly 50,000 years, and after cutting through a second escarpment of resistant rocks (the Onondaga Limestone), it will erode through soft shales, and begin to very slowly drain Lake Erie.

The rocks that are seen in the falls were deposited in a shallow sea that covered much of the eastern U.S. and adjacent Canada between about 440 and 425 million years ago (middle part of the Silurian geologic period). Slightly older rocks, visible downstream through the Niagara Gorge, were deposited along a coastal area, sometimes below sea level, and sometimes on land. These sedimentary rocks, such as limestone, shale, sandstone and dolostone, are seen as distinct layers in the falls and along the gorge. Some of the rock layers, such as the soft, easily eroded Rochester Shale below the cap of Niagara Falls, contain a great diversity of marine fossils, such as brachiopods, trilobites, corals and crinoids.

The Geological Story—In Greater Depth
The Niagara Escarpment is a prominent cliff-forming escarpment that extends from western New York into southern Ontario, northward to the upper peninsula of Michigan, and then bends downward into eastern Wisconsin and Illinois. The escarpment is capped by relatively hard, resistant rocks of the Silurian-age Lockport Group (chiefly dolostones and limestones), which are underlain by less resistant rocks (shales and limestones, like the fossiliferous Rochester Shale).

The rocks visible at Niagara Falls were deposited in a shallow seaway that covered much of the eastern U.S. during the Silurian Period. Older Silurian rocks below the river level were variously deposited in shallow seas to lowlands. At the bottom of the river channel, even older red shales and sandstones of the Ordovician Period (Queenston Formation) were deposited on land, during a major fall in global sea level. An erosion surface, with a few million years of time missing, occurs at the contact of the Ordovician and Silurian rocks.

The erosional retreat of the falls upstream is slower today than in the past, largely due to withdrawal of waters from the Niagara River for hydro-electric power generation. Retreat for the last 500+ years was between three to five feet per year; the rate now is estimated to be about one foot per year. Climate change models predict drier conditions in the Great Lakes watershed in the future, potentially slowing the rate of erosion and retreat of Niagara Falls.

Thanks to John Rozell and Angela Berti of NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Craig Williams (historian, NY State Museum), and W. Dickerson, for additional images.

Related Links:
There are many websites with general info about Niagara Falls. Here are links to some that focus on its geolog:

Niagara Falls Facts and Figures, from the Niagara Park Commission, Government of the Province of Ontario, Canada

Origins of Niagara
 from niagarafrontier.com:


Niagara Falls geology fieldtrip article, from the 2005 Binghamton Geomorphology Symposium:http://www.geog.buffalo.edu/~rensch/binghamton/BGS%202005%20Field%20Guide%20final.pdf
Free Download of the old New York State Museum Bulletin on Niagara Falls: Grabau, A.W., 1901, Geology and Paleontology of Niagara Falls and Vicinity. New York State Museum Bulletin #45, 284 pages. (Note: Some interpretations and names of rock units and fossils have been revised since 1901, but Grabau’s observations and other information are still valid and insightful) http://nysl.nysed.gov/uhtbin/cgisirsi/?ps=YTcPAQ6AtK/NYSL/278440094/523/83119

A more modern perspective on the geology of Niagara Falls is found in Colossal Cataract:The Geologic History of Niagara Falls, by I.H. Tesmer and J.C. Bastedo (1981, State University of New York Press, Albany, 219 p.). A briefer geological overview of the post-glacial and Paleozoic history of Niagara Falls and Niagara Gorge can be found in C.E. Brett and P.E. Calkin (1987, Niagara Falls and Gorge, New York-Ontario. Geological Society of America, Denver, Centennial Field Guide, p. 97-105).


Originally posted 2014-02-11 12:53:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Amazing Niagara Falls “Miracle Jump” Anniversary Approaching

In the Spring of 2012, a deranged madman leapt from the ledge of Horseshoe Falls at Niagara Falls  to what onlookers thought was a certain death.  On that bizarre day, there were actually two stories about  waterfalls and miracles.

In the bizarre first incident, a man suspected of trying to kill himself by leapt into Niagara Falls and survived — although he suffered life-threatening injuries.

Niagara Falls visitors are encouraged not to get too close to ledge at the awesome, but dangerous Horseshoe Falls

Niagara Falls visitors are encouraged not to get too close to ledge at the awesome, but dangerous Horseshoe Falls

Witnesses said they saw the man scale a retaining wall above Horseshoe Falls — seen above — at about 10:20 a.m. on the fateful day. They said they saw him “deliberately jump into the river waters,” according to Niagara Parks Police Service.

Many people were in shock and there was little they could do.  The great Niagara Falls are a fearsome foe.  The deranged man surfaced in lower Niagara River basin. About two hours later, the Niagara Falls Fire Department rescued him from the rocky shoreline. He was taken by an air ambulance to a local hospital for treatment, and was said to have suffered life-threatening injuries.

According to the Associated Press, the man is only the third known person in history to have survived going over the falls without a safety device. The leap sent the man plummeting about 180 feet into the water, the AP said.

The Horseshoe Falls are 170 feet high and 2,200 feet wide in the area that Wallenda will tackle. Those particular falls are the largest — and many say the most spectacular — of the three cataracts that make up Niagara Falls.

Yes, there is a yet another – a second miracle story.  A day earlier, a 13-year-old boy was saved from the edge of a 270-foot waterfall northeast of Seattle, Wash.

The boy had been wading in a river when he lost his footing and was swept over a 10-foot waterfall. He managed to pull himself onto a narrow rock shelf before being swept over a second waterfall. And there he waited, nearly nine hours, until rescuers could get to him.

If that video doesn’t make you want to take extra safety precautions when near a waterfall, nothing will.  Would you like to learn more about the madcap attempts by Niagara Falls Daredevils over the years?

Click Here To See Some Truly Amazing And Bizarre Stories

Originally posted 2014-02-08 21:17:39. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Magnificent Niagara Falls Painting By Thomas Cole Featured At Museum

Photo -- See Caption Below
Niagara Falls
c 1830
By Thomas Cole

This view of Niagara exemplifies the story of art and conservation as told to visitors at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. It introduces the Hudson River School and the work of Cole, the school’s founder. It provides a rich opportunity to discuss great natural landmarks, and the role of art in bringing popular attention to America’s wilderness. Niagara was already a thoroughly commercialized tourist destination when Cole idealized its unspoiled wildness in this painting, attributed to about 1829-30.

Frederick and Julia Billings purchased this painting of Niagara, along with two small Arcadian studies by Cole, on the recommendation of the artist Frederic Church, who was acting as broker for Cole’s estate. In 1879 Church wrote to Frederick Billings, “I have selected three or four of the most attractive of the little pictures by Thomas Cole which the family will part with – to be sent to my studio in New York – for your inspection.” Two months later he writes again to acknowledge Julia Billings’ letter, “relative to the three Coles,” with details of their delivery and care.

Oil, canvas. 48×62 cm
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, MABI 1770

Originally posted 2014-02-11 12:27:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Amazing Niagara Falls Photo: Helicopter Pulls Boat From Brink Of Niagara Falls

New York Army National Guard Aviators Retrieve Boat from Brink of Niagara Falls
By Lt. Benjamin Postle, Company B 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation

New York Army National Guard Aviators Retrieve Boat from Brink of Niagara Falls

Photo Credit: Lt. Benjamin Postle, Company B 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation
A New York Army National Guard CH-47 Chinnok helicopter based at the Army Aviation Support Facility in Rochester, N.Y., hoists a New York State Park Police boat out of the Niagara River June 19, 2011. The Chinook assigned to Det. 1 Co. B. 3rd Battalion 126th Aviation and commanded by Capt. Eric Fritz, retrieved the boat after its crew was forced to abandon it just above the falls.

Originally posted 2014-02-11 12:30:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

New Sports Expo brings Bower, Cujo to Falls in March

John Law

By John Law, Niagara Falls Review

Sports fans in Niagara will get a chance to rub shoulders with some sports greats at the new Niagara Falls Sports Expo. Show manager Chris Dabrowski says the show will be held on March 29, 2014, at the Scotiabank Convention Centre.
Mike DiBattista/Niagara Falls Review/QMI Agency

Sports fans in Niagara will get a chance to rub shoulders with some sports greats at the new Niagara Falls Sports Expo. Show manager Chris Dabrowski says the show will be held on March 29, 2014, at the Scotiabank Convention Centre. Mike DiBattista/Niagara Falls Review/QMI Agency

Johnny Bower heads to the first annual Niagara Falls Sports Expo March 29. PHOTO:  Dave Thomas
Curtis Joseph heads to the first annual Niagara Falls Sports Expo March 29. PHOTO: 
CRAIG GLOVER/The London Free Press/QMI Agency

The man who helped bring a star-studded Comic Con to Niagara Falls has set his sights on the sports world now.

The first annual Niagara Falls Sports Expo heads to the Scotiabank Convention Centre March 29. And much like its Comic Con counterpart, it will start out small, says manager and co-founder Chris Dabrowski. Though autograph seekers won’t be disappointed.

“We’re lucky in the sense that there’s a lot more sports celebrities that are local to us – with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bills – in comparison to Hollywood,” he says.

The first confirmed guests include two goalie greats from Leafs lore – Hall of Famer Johnny Bower, and fan favourite Curtis Joseph.

Bower won four Stanley Cups with the Maple Leafs, including the team’s last one in 1967 when he was 42.

Joseph was a dominant goaltender with the Leafs in the late ‘90s, and was twice a runner-up for the Vezina Trophy.

The two other confirmed guests are former Buffalo Bills linebacker Cornelius Bennett, and WWE star Brutus Beefcake.

But Dabrowski hints several more names will be announced soon, including one bonafide baseball legend and a Buffalo Sabres great from the ‘70 and ‘80s.

His wish list, should the show expand, is Mike Weir and Wayne Gretzky. But much like the Niagara Falls Comic Con, which had a modest start at the former Dave & Buster’s on Clifton Hill, the Sports Expo must establish itself first.

Dabrowski already knows the market is there.

“Comic Con proved that,” he says. “I’ve promoted events for years, and the community seemed to be receptive and excited. it depends on what type of event you’re looking to host. Some events work, some events don’t.”

For its upcoming fourth year, Comic Con has landed William Shatner, Ric Flair and Dean Cain. It’s now a three-day event.

The Expo will feature sports cards, fan interactions, and plenty of memorabilia. Dabrowski is hoping to arrange for some exhibits from the Hockey Hall of Fame.

In addition to his two Niagara Falls shows, Dabrowski runs the Hammer Town Comic Con in Hamilton.

For him, much of it goes back to the thrill of waiting in line for a star’s autograph.

“I remember waiting in line at the Pen Centre for Peter Zezel’s autograph when I was a kid. There were hundreds of people,” he recalls. “And then slo-pitch tournaments at Oakes Park, I remember hanging out along the fence waiting to meet Wendel Clark.

“I thought about that and figured there’s been nothing like this in the area for 10 or 15 years.”


  • WHAT: Niagara Falls Sports Expo
  • WHERE: Scotiabank Convention Centre, Niagara Falls
  • WHEN: March 29, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • TICKETS: $20 www.nfsportsexpo.com

Originally posted 2014-01-14 14:03:53. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Nik Wallenda Bringing Thrill Show to Darien Lake

February 12, 2014, By Ed Reilly

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) Nik Wallenda is now an international superstar after walking a high-wire across Niagara Falls and over the Grand Canyon.

This summer, the aerialist and high-wire artist will produce and star in a new 60 minute thrill show that will be presented at Darien Lake from June 23rd to September 1st.

Wallenda told reporters that he is excited to be part of the effort with partners Darien Lake and sponsor Tim Horton’s Café & Bake Shop.

The following is a news release issued by Darien Lake concerning Wallenda’s summer program:

DARIEN CENTER, N.Y., February 12, 2014 – With decades of experience captivating audiences around the world, aerialist and high-wire artist Nik Wallenda will spend the summer of 2014 high-above Darien Lake. Known as the “King of the Wire,” his high-flying stunts have landed him in the Guinness Book of World Record seven times and his 2012 walk across Niagara Falls made him a household name throughout Western New York.

Darien Lake and presenting sponsor Tim Hortons Café and Bake Shop announced today that the internationally renowned daredevil will star in and produce a 60-minute thrill spectacular exclusively for Darien Lake guests. Showing twice daily in the 1,800 seat Galaxy Theatre from June 23 through September 1st (dark Mondays), the show will mesmerize audiences with exhilarating performances from the world’s best aerialists and stunt performers and climax in the breath-taking Wallenda Family Pyramid on the wire finale. The amazing stunt features Nik, his wife Erendira, and other members of the Wallenda family walking, untethered, 60 feet above the audience.

Wallenda’s involvement doesn’t stop at the Galaxy Theater. Nik Wallenda Productions Inc. will be crafting additional entertainment for Darien Lake including a short-film chronicling the history of the Wallendas, an interactive tight-rope training academy with hands-on instruction, “pop up” street performances from the cast and crew, and a not-to-be-missed premier high-wire stunt on Saturday, May 26.

All performances will be included with park admission and for Darien Lake Vacations guests, with preferred seating and VIP packages sold on a limited basis. 2014 season pass holders will receive exclusive show offers and event invites throughout the show run.

“The level of entertainment Nik will bring to our guests this season is unprecedented,” said Vince Nicoletti, Director of Marketing at Darien Lake. “Nik Wallenda holds 7 world records and he’s coming with the world’s best aerialists and stunt performers in tow. This truly will be an incomparable entertainment experience”.

“My family and I are thrilled to be back in the area and spending our summer at Darien Lake,” said Nik Wallenda. “With more than 1 million people coming to the park every season, it’s the perfect location for our act and we can’t wait to get started.”

For more information about Nik Wallenda and The Wallenda Family at Darien Lake this season, or to learn how season pass holders can get special pre-season access to the park, visit www.darienlake.com.

Originally posted 2014-02-14 22:51:24. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Some ‘Frozen Niagara Falls’ Photos Really Are Too Good To Be True


Frozen Niagara Falls

As temperatures around the U.S. dipped into the “it’s ridiculously cold” zone,stunning wintery photographs began popping up around the Internet. A few evenshowed a completely frozen-over Niagara Falls. But while these pics make the icy falls look absolutely beautiful, some of the most dramatic images being circulated are not current. In fact, despite the extreme cold, the falls never froze completely solid this week.

BuzzFeed notes that a few of these photos first showed up online years ago, like this gorgeous image (below), which was originally uploaded to photo-sharing site Flikr back in 2007:

Similarly, this scenic shot was first posted in 2012, per BuzzFeed:

According to Yahoo! News this is not the first time people have raised questions about the veracity of Niagara Falls photos. Experts still question the authenticity of some famous winter photos taken in the the early- and mid-1900s and archived at Niagara Falls Public Library.

But while the 167-foot Niagra Falls may not have frozen completely solid during this recent cold snap, the landmark did partially freeze, resulting in some genuinely spectacular pics.

niagra falls

This photo of Niagara Falls partially frozen over was taken on January 9, 2014.

Reuters photographer Aaron Harris also took a series of particularly lovely shots of the icy landmark on Wednesday. You can view his pics over at Business Insider.

Originally posted 2014-01-14 14:06:12. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Winter Specials For Niagara Falls Hotels

Create a Magical Winter Wonderland Experience From Hotels in Niagara Falls, Ontario


Courtyard Niagara Falls Sits Amidst Area’s Finest Winter Festival Attractions


NIAGARA FALLS, ON–(Marketwired – Dec 13, 2013) – Discover the magic of Niagara Falls in the wintertime for an extraordinary escape filled with sparkling lights, explosive fireworks and fun things to do near the natural wonder.

check out hotels deals at Niagara-Info.com

The holiday season in Ontario shines brightly with the majestic displays of the Winter Festival of Lights at Niagara Falls through Jan. 31, 2014. Creating a spectacular Niagara Falls light show with millions of sparkling tree lights and 120 animated displays; the 5-kilometre Niagara Parkway turns into a breathtaking winter wonderland and sets the stage for exciting winter festivities with the rushing of Niagara Falls as a backdrop.

Making it easy to create an unforgettable Canadian outdoor winter experience the TD Rink at the Brink is “just a snowball’s throw” from the brink of Horseshoe Falls and is ideal for family winter fun or a romantic escape.

Neatly nestled in the “centre of it all” and beckoning travelers with an array of budget-friendly packages and exceptional accommodations, the Courtyard Niagara Falls hotel is convenient to popular outdoor and indoor entertainment venues and allows guests to easily experience the excitement of the area whether ice skating, being captivated by the majestic waterfalls or simply relaxing with an eye to the sky for the spectacular glow of winter fireworks. During the Winter Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls is illuminated in the colours of the rainbow creating an additional attraction to the festivities. Other nearby attractions include Blue Christmas at the Butterfly conservatory through January 5th, Floral Showcase Annual Christmas Display through January 15th and area shopping adventures such as Santa’s Shop Downtown. A New Year’s Eve concert hosted by ET Canada is also planned in Queen’s Park.

The Courtyard hotel’s location in Niagara Falls puts Canada visitors within walking distance of the area’s finest attractions, restaurants, shopping and nightlife so guests can focus on creating a fun-filled trip without the worry of travel. And, while offering attentive service and gracious amenities, the hotel is also in tune with keeping travel affordable and features a variety of discounts and even “Last-Minute Weekend” deals for those looking for a fun weekend escape.

About the Courtyard Niagara Falls
The Courtyard Niagara Falls boasts newly renovated and spacious accommodations just a short walk from Niagara Falls, Casino Niagara, Fallsview Casino, Clifton Hill and other popular attractions. Offering everything needed for an exceptional hotel experience, the lodging features impressive on-site dining options, a 24-hour business centre, 24/7 market for snacks, beverages and travel needs, the Courtyard’s popular GoBoard technology in the lobby, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property, a 24-hour fitness centre and refreshing indoor and outdoor pools. Guest rooms feature both Canadian and US television networks, satellite service, video-on-demand service with theatre movie options, luxury bedding ensembles, a mini-refrigerator and coffee/tea service. Whirlpool and fireplace suites are also available for added the added comfort and convenience of guests.

Originally posted 2014-01-09 13:41:50. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Niagara Falls: Celebrating 125 years of Power, Romance and Daredevilry

Niagara Falls: Celebrating 125 years of Power, Romance and Daredevilry

By Bernadette LaManna

Recently, we marked the culmination of the 125-year anniversary of Niagara Falls State Park. Although a nip of winter chill now accompanies our celebration, mist from the thundering falls freezes on every twig, branch and lightpost, creating a dazzling display of glistening light. And no matter the weather, visitors will see there is much to observe and do in Niagara Falls, often for free or only a nominal fee.

A view of American and Horseshoe Falls
Overlooking the American Falls with
Horseshoe Falls in the background.
(Photo: Neil Satterly)

The Niagara Falls are the most powerful waterfalls in North America. Wider than they are high, the falls’ water volume peaks in late spring or early summer, and although they are an important source of hydroelectric power, they are probably best known for their beauty. But if it hadn’t been for the efforts of a few concerned citizens, the beauty of this natural wonder may have been lost to the public forever.

In the early nineteenth century, businessmen sought to take advantage of the tremendous power of Niagara Falls. They built factories and mills along the Niagara River, with the waste products from these facilities dumped directly into the river. As industry began to rapidly increase, the natural beauty of the area suffered and became mostly inaccessible to the general public.

Alarmed by the changes going on, a small group of people founded the Free Niagara movement in the late 1860s, focusing on preserving the falls and their environs. Led by artist Frederic Edwin Church, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Henry Hobson Richardson, Free Niagara saved the falls from being almost exclusively used for industrial and commercial purposes. However, it took nearly two decades before their efforts resulted in legislation that in 1885 created the Niagara Reservation, New York’s first state park, now known as Niagara Falls State Park.

Two tightrope walkers cross Niagara falls
In the early 1900s daredevils began
performing stunts at the falls.

Beginning in October 1901, daredevils-the first of whom was 63-year-old Annie Edson Taylor-have used various devices (or nothing at all!) in which to plunge down Niagara Falls. Some died in the attempt, but a surprising number survived, many with relatively minor injuries. Eventually, those who performed such stunts “without permission” and survived were often heavily fined.

Other daredevils walked across tightropes anchored on either side above the falls. Some of them were blindfolded, performed acrobatics, pushed a wheelbarrow across, balanced on a chair, and, in one case, even carried another man on his shoulders. A museum in town is devoted to these “stunters,” and the graves of many of them, including Mrs. Taylor’s, can be found at Oakwood Cemetery in Niagara Falls, NY.

Even though Niagara Falls is known as the “honeymoon capital of the world,” how it became such a popular site for all things romantic isn’t exactly clear. Some suggest the effect of positive ions spraying out of the mist from the falls is responsible. Although numerous traditional venues are available, couples who want to have a unique wedding experience can even get married on a helicopter as it flies above the falls.

colored illumination of American Falls
From November through early January,
colored spotlights alternately illuminate the
American Falls (pictured here) and the
Horseshoe Falls. (Photo: Carl Heilman II)

Every night from November through early January, white and colored spotlights alternately illuminate the Horseshoe Falls and the American Falls. This feature might be one reason why so many are drawn to the falls, particularly for vacations or special occasions.

The Prospect Point Observation Tower is located within Niagara Falls State Park and provides spectacular views of the American Falls and the torrents below. For an even closer (and wetter) look, visitors can take an elevator to the base of the gorge and then climb the stairs to the Crow’s Nest, an observation deck. Weather permitting, the tower is open year-round, and admission is free from November until April.

More great sightseeing can be enjoyed along the Niagara Gorge Trail System, which extends from Niagara Falls, NY north to Lewiston, NY, a distance of about 14.5 miles. Guided tours are available.

A path from Horseshoe Falls connects to the Upper Great Gorge Trail, leading in turn to Whirlpool Rapids. Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole State Parks can be reached by car. However, visitors who choose to travel on foot should dress appropriately and be prepared for rugged and steep trails. The Robert Moses Parkway Trail is a year-round, multi-use, recreational trail. Three miles long, it can be accessed from the Discovery Center and Whirlpool and Devil’s Hole State Parks.

Fireworks and colored lights at Niagara Falls at night
Photo: John Rozell/OPRHP

Instead of hiking for miles, those who prefer to get their exercise and fresh air in smaller doses can visit some of the dozens of historic structures in and around Niagara Falls that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These range from homes, schools and churches to an armory, a hotel and a post office, many of which were constructed before the Civil War.

The Niagara Falls Visitor Center is open year-round and offers interpretive displays and exhibits, maps and information, a gift shop and eateries. It also houses the Adventure Theater. Admission to the center itself is free. During warm weather, the 1.5 acres of floral gardens outside the center depict the Great Lakes region above the falls with grassy areas shaped like lakes Michigan, Superior, Huron and Erie. In addition, a walkway follows the course of the Niagara River.

Knowledgeable guides share the history of the park on a comfortable, half-hour scenic trolley ride, during which visitors can get off at one or more of the six stops along the three-mile route. Although the trolleys have a vintage look, they run on natural gas and are prominent in Niagara Falls’ “Green Park Project,” which received the 2006 Clean Air Excellence Award.

A poster celebrating Niagara Falls State Park's 125th anniversary

The Niagara Gorge Discovery Center showcases the natural and local history of Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. Visitors can enjoy interactive displays, take a virtual elevator trip into the gorge, experience 12,000 years of the Niagara River in the 180° multi-screen theater, or climb a 26-foot rock wall that resembles the walls of the gorge, complete with fossils and geological formations.

In December and early January, a variety of traditional holiday-related activities and events are scheduled in Niagara Falls and the surrounding area. In addition, the Charles Rand Penney Collection of prints of Niagara Falls will be on display at the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University. This collection is the largest of its kind in the world and includes the earliest known painting of the falls-Father Louis Hennepin’s “Chute d’eau de Niagara” (1698). Images throughout the collection reflect the historic and cultural changes that have occurred in Niagara Falls since the seventeenth century and illustrate the city’s significance to American history.

So if you’re looking for something to do this winter, visit Niagara Falls and join in the park’s celebration. With a variety of historical and cultural entertainment, there’s plenty to do and see.
Bernadette LaManna is a contributing editor to Conservationist.

Originally posted 2014-02-11 12:23:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter