Zavitz: Wirewalker Hardy amazed 19th century crowds in Niagara

From the Niagara Falls Review:

James Hardy has a special place in the history of Niagara Falls.

He was the final official participant in a 19th century phenomenon often referred to as the great age of Niagara tightrope artists — something that captured much of the world’s attention.

That “age” began in 1859 when the innovative showman Jean Francois Gravelet, who used the stage name Blondin, demonstrated unbelievable skill and daring on a rope during a series of performances high over the Niagara River Gorge.

Widely acclaimed, he set a precedent. Consequently, during the years following Blondin a number of other high-wire artists came here to present similar shows.

Thirty-seven years after Blondin, it was Hardy’s turn.

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