Niagara Falls History, Niagara Falls
Favorite thing: I learned a new word while reading one of the many signs placed around the Falls telling the history of the area, a funambulist is a tightrope walker and there were many who performed a tightrope walk over the Niagara Gorge. The most famous was a man named Jean Francois Gravelot, known as the Great Blondin. In 1860 with the Prince of Wales looking on he carted his manager on his back on the tightrope, he offered to also take the Prince of Wales but he declined. He was the 1st person to attempt to cross the Falls on a tightrope in 1859, subsequent stunts included crossing on a bicycle, on stilts, at night, while doing somersaults and carting a stove across in a wheelbarrow and stopping midway to cook an omelet!
Hundreds of years ago, the Niagara Escarpment split. The sediment from a vanished Lake Tonawanda formed Goat Island. (after John Stedman whose goat herds froze to death in the winter of 1780) The water flow on the American Falls is much less forceful because of Goat Island. The Canadian Falls have no such obstacle.
In winter, water flows continually, though mist and water creates ice formations along the banks of the Falls. It is known as an "Ice Bridge". Several people were killed attempting to cross the Falls on the ice bridge, thus prompting officials to close the Falls to public access.
Over the years, quite a few, ahem, "Adventursome souls" decided to take on the challenge of the Falls. Annie Taylor, a 46 year-old widow, who taught school in Bay City, Michigan. She decided to go over the falls in a barrel, what? Is she nuts? Well, Mrs. Taylor survived the ordeal but when she was rescued from the barrel, she stated, "nobody ought to ever do that again," and many still try.
Hundreds of thrill seekers have attempted stunts at the Falls since Annie's 1901 attempt, some giving their lives for the privilege. So many idiots, er "thrill seekers" have attempted these feats that a Daredevil Hall of Fame, located in the town of Niagara Falls, Ontario, has been opened in homage to this brand of people. Crazy, lunatic, JPFN: Just Plain %^$#**% Nuts are some words I would use to describe those who attempt the feats.
Fondest memory: I enjoyed my first visit to Niagara Falls after the Toronto Meeting had disbanded. Lori, Hans and I took a quick trip out to see the Falls before returning to Windsor. Just being with them made this time special and memorable. We went to the casino and I promptly lost my $20 bucks. I rarely win with any form of gamble but it was still fun.
It was still quite warm for that time of year. Oh yes, and the "walk up the hill" in the humidity was also quite memorable!! LOL