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flag  History of Niagara Falls, New York, USA

Journey back in time to Niagara Falls, New York, USA

Visit Niagara Falls, New York, USA. Discover its history. Learn about the people who lived there through stories, old newspaper articles, pictures, postcards and ancestry.

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Niagara Falls, New York, USA - Picturesque America: Or, the Land We Live In. A Delineation by Pen and Pencil of the Mountains, Rivers, Lakes... With Illustr. on Steel and Wood, by E

Niagara Falls has had a hold on the popular imagination since shortly after Father Louis Hennepin first laid eyes on it in 1678.

Niagara Falls is made up of 3 waterfalls: the American Falls, the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. The 3 waterfalls combine to produce the highest flow rate of any waterfall on earth.

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There is MUCH more to discover about Niagara Falls, New York, USA. Read on!

Niagara Falls Nostalgia: Vintage Photos, Ads, and Postcards

Picturesque America: Or, the Land We Live In. A Delineation by Pen and Pencil of the Mountains, Rive
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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Picturesque America: Or, the Land We Live In. A Delineation by Pen and Pencil of the Mountains, Rivers, Lakes... With Illustr. on Steel and Wood, by Eminent American Artists, Volume 1
William C. Bryant
Appleton, 1872
The Brink of the Horseshoe

Picturesque America: Or, the Land We Live In. A Delineation by Pen and
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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The Brink of the Horseshoe

Picturesque America: Or, the Land We Live In. A Delineation by Pen and Pencil of the Mountains, Rivers, Lakes... With Illustr. on Steel and Wood, by Eminent American Artists, Volume 1
William C. Bryant
Appleton, 1872
The Horseshow Fall, From Under Cliff at Goat Island

1882 - Lucius O'Brien - Picturesque Canada (1
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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The Horseshow Fall, From Under Cliff at Goat Island

1882 - Lucius O'Brien - Picturesque Canada (1882–84)
Approach to Cave of the Winds

1882 - Lucius O'Brien - Picturesque Canada (1882–84)
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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Approach to Cave of the Winds

1882 - Lucius O'Brien - Picturesque Canada (1882–84)
The Whirlpool from American side

1882 - Lucius O'Brien - Picturesque Canada (1882–84)
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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The Whirlpool from American side

1882 - Lucius O'Brien - Picturesque Canada (1882–84)
Ice Bridge, A Mountain
Below the American Fall

1882 - Lucius O'Brien - Picturesque Canada (1882–
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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Ice Bridge, A Mountain
Below the American Fall

1882 - Lucius O'Brien - Picturesque Canada (1882–84)
International Hotel
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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International Hotel
American Falls from Below, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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American Falls from Below, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Whirlpool Rapids, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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Whirlpool Rapids, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
Niagara Falls
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Niagara Falls, New York, USA

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Niagara Falls
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Discover Niagara Falls: History, News, Travel, and Stories

Add informationAdd History/News/Story
1814 - July 25 - Battle of Niagara Falls (Lundy's Lane); Americans defeat British

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1848 - March 29 - Niagara Falls stops flowing for 30 hours due to an ice jam

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March 29, 1848
1854 - Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, a post-village of Niagara county. New York, is situated in the immediate vicinity of the great cataract, to which circumstance it owes its origin and increase. Distance from Buffalo by railroad, 22 miles ; from Rochester, 76 miles. It contains 1 Catholic and 4 Protestant churches, 6 dry goods stores and 9 hotels, of which 4 are styled "first class ;" also a paper mill, iron foundry, a flouring mill, and a large public school house. Three or four railroads meet at this point. Population in 1853, estimated at 2200.
A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States: Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy ... Thomas Baldwin (of Philadelphia.) Joseph Thomas January 1, 1854 Philadelphia : Lippincott, Grambo & Company 1854.
1855 - March 8 - 1st train crosses 1st US railway suspension bridge, Niagara Falls

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1859 - June 30 - Charles Blondin is 1st to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope

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June 30, 1859
1883 - December 20 - Intl cantilever railway bridge opens at Niagara Fall

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June 15, 1887 - Carlisle D. Graham survives the third of his four successful rides over a Niagara waterfall in barrel.

http://www.independentsentinel.com/
1889 - AT NIAGARA FALLS. The Suspension Foot Bridge Gone and Other Damage Done.
NIAGARA FALLS, N. Y., Jan 11. - The storm raged here with great fury. The suspension foot bridge spanning the Niagara river below the falls was torn from its gables at 3 o'clock this morning and a portion of it lies on either bank, while the center portion of it is at the bottom of the river.

The structure was cut clean from tower to tower.

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon the fury of the storm showed no abatement.

The railroads suffered great damage and all trains are delayed several hours. The trains of the Western New York and Pennsylvania, Buffalo and Southwestern, Rochester and Pittsburg and the Nickel Plate railroads are washed out for a distance of several hundred feet at Buffalo creek. The New York Central railroad's trestle on the Niagara Falls branch is submerged and all travel stopped.

At Brundages' elevator, on the American side of the Whirlpool rapids, a two story swept away. At Buttery's elevator, on the American side, Detterick's photograph gallery was swept... Read MORE...

1895 - Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls, a city of New York, in Niagara co., embracing the former villages of Niagara Falls and Suspension Bridge, is situated on the Niagara River, at the £ from which it takes its name, 22 miles N.N.W. of Buffalo, and 13 miles S. of Lake Ontario. Several important rail roads converge here. The city contains about 15 churches, 6 banks, several savings- and loan-associations, 2 union schools, 2 parochial schools, a boys' school known as De Veaux College, a custom-house (port of entry Suspension Bridge), and printing-offices which issue 2 daily and 3 weekly newspapers. Two suspension-bridges and a cantilever bridge connect this city with a town of the same name (formerly called Clifton) on the opposite side of the river, in Canada. The city was incorporated in 1892, Pop. about 18,000.
Lippincott's Gazetteer of the World: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World Containing Notices of Over One Hundred and Twenty-five Thousand Places ... Joseph Thomas January 1, 1895 J.B. Lippincott
1896 - February 18 - Cave of Winds at Niagara Falls goes almost dry for first time in 50 yrs

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February 18, 1896
1896 - Fatal Explosion
By Associated Press

NIAGARA FALLS (N.Y.), Nov 14 - By the explosion of about thirty pounds of dynamite in the office building of Ed. Smith & Co., contractors in charge of the extension of the wheel pit and tunnel of the Niagara Falls Power Company, to-day, two men were instantly killed and one fatally injured. Three others were severely injured and several were cut and bruised by flying rocks and timbers. The office building, a frame structure forty by fifteen feet, was totally demolished, and windows for many yards distant were broken by the shock.

The dead are: Hakken Hammer, general manager, of Potsdam, N.Y., and Albert Reynolds, a negro workman.

The injured are: John Pickett, foreman, will die; John Rogers, M.E. Miles and George Barlow.

From what can be learned of the accident, Reynolds had just thawed out the dynamite in the powder house, some distance away, and brought it over to the office preparatory to blasting.

Reno Evening Gazette, Reno NV 24 Nov... Read MORE...

1901 - October 24 – Michigan schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor goes over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survives.

wikipedia.org
October 24, 1901
1903 - Niagara Runs Dry
Telegraphing from Niagara Falls, the "Standard's" correspondent stated that recently pedestrians crossed over the river-bed, where human feet have never before trod. An ice jam near Goat Island had diverted the water to the Canadian side, and almost dried up the American rapids. Even residents thronged to witness a sight that they had never imagined possible. Above the ice jam the water was three feet higher that usual; below, it still ran close to the mainland, but practically the entire river-bed was bare. Men, women and children romped about, regardless of the possibility that the breaking of the ice jam might submerge them at any moment. Many momentoes were taken from spots not likely to be visible again.
West Gippsland Gazette
Australia
May 26, 1903
1906
Niagara Falls, a city of Niagara co., N.Y., is situated on the Niagara River, at the falls from which it takes its name, 22 miles NNW. of Buffalo and 13 miles S. of Lake Ontario, on the Erie, the New York Central and Hudson River and other railroads. It is the seat of Niagara University (Roman Catholic) and the De Veaux College, and has paper and other mills, reduction-works, manufactures of graphite, aluminum, carborundum, plated-ware, emery-wheels, hair-cloth, gas-machines, etc., and extensive electrolytic-works, which develop enormous horse-power from the cataract waters. Several bridges (suspension canti-lever, steel-arch) cross the river at this point. A New York State Reservation, including Prospect Park, was established here in 1885. Pop. in 1900, 19,457.
Lippincott's New Gazetteer: A Complete Pronouncing Gazetteer Or Geographical Dictionary of the World, Containing the Most Recent and Authentic Information Respecting the Countries, Cities, Towns ... in Every Portion of the Globe Publisher J.B. Lippincott Company, 1906
1907 - ICICLE CRUSHES TROLLEY. ACCIDENT AT NIAGARA FALLS KILLS ONE PERSON, HURTS OTHERS.
Special to The New York Times.

Niagara Falls, March 12. - An icicle that became detached from the high bank below the railway bridge at the Whirlpool Rapids this afternoon caused the death of JOSEPH MENZER, a conductor on a belt line car, injured Motorman HYATT, wreck the electric car, and injured these passengers: S. S. LINDSEY, Pittsburg, Penn., arm broken, and MRS. LINDSEY, badly shocked; DR. and MRS. J. E. NEWIG of Sioux City, Iowa, both shocked and bruised.

After the washout of last January the Gorge road opened a single temporary track along the rapids. At the upper end a switch opens to the old double track. Conductor MENZER went ahead to throw this switch, but as he found it clogged by ice, Motorman HYATT jumped off to help him. While they were clearing the switch the ice came rushing down the slope of the bank, which is very steep at that point. Both MENZER and HYATT ran to get away from the path of the ice, but MENZER was caught and crushed. HYATT had a narrow escape... Read MORE...

1909 - NIAGARA FALLS FIRE - Columbia Hotel Damaged and Two Employes Injured - Guest Who Gave Alarm Disappeared.
NIAGARA FALLS, Jan. 5. - Fire was discovered early to-day in the Columbia Hotel, a five-story brick structure. The seventy guests all got our safely but two employes, LYDA BILLINGS, an Indian, aged 21, and MARY SWIACZECK, aged 17, were found later lying unconscious in an alley where they dropped from a rope to descend from the fourth floor. Miss Billing's legs were broken and she was injured internally. Mary Swiaczeck was badly injured about the ankles and feet. William King was badly burned.

The fire was discovered by a man who registered as William Bailey but did not give his residence. He disappeared after giving an alarm and has not been seen since. The property loss is about $15,000.
Syracuse Herald
Syracuse, New York
January 5, 1909
1912 - DRIFT TO DEATH ON FLOATING ICE. WOMAN AND TWO MEN DROWN IN NIAGARA RAPIDS. IN VIEW OF THOUSANDS.
THEY ATTEMPTED TO CROSS ICE BRIDGE, WHEN THE MASS BROKE AND THEY WERE CARRIED AWAY ON CAKES OF ICE.

Niagara Falls, N.Y., Feb. 5. - One woman and two men, who had ventured to cross the Niagara River near the falls on the ice bridge, were drowned in the whirlpool rapids, two miles below the falls, to which point they had drifted on the ice in full view of thousands who were helpless to render aid, though every effort was made.

Their names are MR. and MRS. ELDREDGE STANTON, of Toronto, Ont., and BURRELL HECOCK, of Cleveland, O.

A great mass of ice broke away and was swept by the current toward the rapids and pool. When the ice broke there were at least eight persons on the ice, but five of these are believed to have gained the shore in safety, some of them a mile below the falls and midway to the rapids.
Two men and a woman did not escape. One of the men floated on a cake of ice ahead of the other man and woman. When the jam started out the fact was phoned to the lower steel... Read MORE...

1916 - NIAGARA FALLS PLANT WRECKED LAST NIGHT. POLICE SAY EXPLOSION WAS CAUSED BY DYNAMITE.
By Associated Press.
Niagara Falls, N.Y., March 7. - Fire, following several explosions, late tonight virtually destroyed the plant of the Niagara Electro-Chemical company, causing the death of one of the workmen, the injury of several others and property loss estimated at $250,000.

The first explosion was of great force, windows in nearly all buildings within the radius of a block being shattered. The subsequent explosions occurred after the firemen had turned water into the burning building and it believed to have been caused by chemical action. The police believe the first explosion was caused by dynamite.

Three weeks ago one of the walls of the Castnor Alkali company's plant was wrecked by an explosion and the police subsequently found several sticks of dynamite with fuses attached in other parts of the building. Both firs make bleaching powders.
Titusville Herald
Titusville, Pennsylvania
March 8, 1916
1917 - 8 PERSONS KILLED IN NIAGARA PLUNGE. MORE THAN A SCORE INJURED AS A CROWDED CAR OVERTURNS INTO WHIRLPOOL RAPIDS. WASHOUT CAUSED DISASTER.
CAR TURNED TURTLE IN 10 FEET OF WATER - MANY PINNED DOWN BY SEATS - REPORT SOME MISSING.

Niagara Falls, N. Y., July 1. - A Belt Line car on the Great Gorge Route left the rails, plunged down a twenty-foot embankment and turned over in ten feet of water on the edge of the whirlpool rapids at 3:30 o'clock this afternoon.

Eight persons are known to be dead. Two persons known to have been on the car have not been seen since the accident and are probably dead; an indefinite number, estimated at from two to ten, are reported missing, and more than a score are in the hospitals suffering from injuries received in the accident.

Following is a list of the dead, missing, and injured:

Dead.
HERON, ALEXANDER, Niagara Falls.
KENT, JAMES S., Scranton, Penn.
MUCK, J. R., Princeton, Ind.
PHELPS, HARVEY G., Schenectady.
RASTERY, MRS. B. M., Chicago.
SCHUMAKER, MARION LLOYD, Akron, Ohio.
SEASTROM, MRS. BERTHA, Jamestown, N. Y.
WALLACE, MRS. L. F., of Akron, Ohio.

Missing.
BROWN,... Read MORE...

1920 - THREE KILLED BY ROCKS IN CAVE OF THE WINDS.
Niagara Falls, N.Y., Sept. 6. - Two women and a man were crushed to death and two men were injured this afternoon when a slide of shale rock forced out a bridge leading to one of the stairways in the Cave of the Winds under Niagara Falls. A hundred or more tourists who were in the cave at the time had narrow escapes, many being bruised and cut by the falling rock.

The dead and injured were members of a party of tourists just completing a tour of the cave. It is the first accident since the cave stairway was built in 1880.

The dead were:
A. HARTMAN, Brooklyn.
His wife, LOUISE HARTMAN.
CLARA M. FAUST, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The injured are:
T. W. LEE, Pittsburgh.
FRANK E. HAEHLING, Detroit, Mich.
The Bridgeport Telegram
Bridgeport, Connecticut
September 7, 1920
1929 - January 2 - US & Canada agree to preserve Niagara Falls

historyorb.com
1938 - "HONEYMOON BRIDGE" COLLAPSES WITH LOSS OF MILLION DOLLARS.
Niagara Falls, N. Y., Jan. 28 - (AP) - An international crowd of several thousand lined the lofty banks of Niagara Gorge today for a glimpse of twisted steel and concrete on the icy carpet far below - all that remained of America's famous "Honeymoon Bridge."

With a roar that drowned the cataract's thunder, the towering structure succumbed late yesterday to a 30-hour battering by the worst Niagara river ice jam in 30 years.

It was the second span on the side to fall from attacks by nature. In 1899 a giant suspension span was blown down in a gale.

Thousands watched the shiny tons of steel plunge 200 feet onto the grinding river ice, so thick that it prevented the shattered bridge remnants from sinking into the 175-foot depths of Niagara river.

Even the gigantic lights on the falls were out last night because the generating plant of the Ontario Hydro Electric commission was covered almost entirely by the ice jam and forced to close.

Company officials estimated damage at... Read MORE...

1980 - May 20 - 710 families in Love Canal area (Niagara Falls NY) are evacuated

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May 20, 1980
2023 - Niagara Falls, New York, has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty and recreational activities. Here's a list of places to go and things to do in the area:
Niagara Falls State Park:

Start your visit at the Niagara Falls State Park, the oldest state park in the USA. It offers breathtaking views of the falls, walking paths, and various observation points.

Maid of the Mist:

Take a boat tour on the Maid of the Mist. It's an iconic experience that takes you close to the base of the falls, providing an exhilarating and wet adventure.

Cave of the Winds:

Put on your poncho and experience the power of Bridal Veil Falls up close. The Cave of the Winds tour takes you on a series of wooden walkways to the base of the falls.

Niagara Falls Observation Tower:

Head to the Observation Tower for stunning panoramic views of the falls. It's especially beautiful at night when the falls are illuminated.

Niagara Gorge Discovery Center:

Learn about the geological and natural history of the Niagara Gorge at the Discovery Center. Interactive exhibits and hiking trails provide an educational experience.

Aquarium of Niagara:

If... Read MORE...

Discover MY Roots: Niagara Falls Ancestry

Ancestors Who Were Born or Died in Niagara Falls, New York, USA

We currently have information about 11 ancestors who were born or died in Niagara Falls.

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Ancestors Who Were Married in Niagara Falls, New York, USA

We currently have information about ancestors who were married in Niagara Falls.

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Genealogy Resources for Niagara Falls

Our Niagara Falls Gift Ideas


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Updated: 10/12/2023 2:03:47 PM