Category: Niagara Falls History

Review columnist says goodbye

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Sherman Zavitz has closed the book on one chapter in his life.

Over the past 26 years, he has written around 900 columns on local history for the Niagara Falls Review. His final Niagara Note column will appear in Saturday’s newspaper.

“It has become increasingly difficult for me to come up with solid, entertaining, suitable topics,” said Zavitz, the official historian for the City of Niagara Falls and Niagara Parks.

“Rather than see the column decline in quality, I felt that maybe it’s time to retire. It was a tough decision to make.”

Would you go over the Falls in this barrel?!

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The other day when out for a walk I went past Henri’s Motel. Out front they have a white barrel that is painted with the words:

The original
Hill’s Barrel
July 1949

I supposed they are referring to Major Lloyd Hill who went over the Falls in a barrel on July 30, 1949. NiagaraFallsInfo.com has the following information:

On July 30th 1949, Major Lloyd Hill, using a 650 pound barrel, successfully navigated the Whirlpool Rapids. Hill became stranded in the Whirlpool and had to be rescued by the City of Niagara Falls Fire Department.

I don’t know what all he had inside the barrel, but without any padding it sure looks like you’d be tossed around quite a bit!

1938: Disaster over Niagara Falls

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I came across this today, and had never heard it before. I’ve obviously heard of the event that led to the destruction of the Honeymoon Bridge, but I’d never heard a radio broadcast from the day it happened. CBC has a nice archives section and here is the audio for a broadcast that day:

In a cloud of snow and ice, the great bridge that crossed the Niagara River has collapsed upon itself. Now, all that remains of the Honeymoon Bridge are tangled cable lines, crushed wooden beams and twisted metal. Under the weight of an enormous amount of ice, the bridge’s beams gave way and fell into the freezing water below. In this on-the-scene report, CBC Radio captures the spectacle of the disaster as hundreds of tourists look on in shock.

SEARCH ENGINE: Hydro plants built to impress

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

Q: As I was driving in Niagara Falls past Dufferin Islands near the falls, I noticed how beautiful the detailing on the power authority buildings are. It must have been some intensive work to get the shaping of corners and windows on those buildings. The architecture of those buildings are a treasure and I was wondering who cast or built them for the authority?

I made a U-turn and saw part of the engravement is spelled with a “v,” as in avthority. Why is there a “v” instead of a “u” on the engravement?

A: The stately facades of the old power plants along the Niagara Parkway in Queen Victoria Park have stood the test of time…

Boom Days gets fired up in the Falls

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From the Niagara Gazette:

The cannon will fire again for LaSalle, Hennepin & Company at the 12th annual Niagara Falls Boom Days set for 7 p.m. on Saturday.

This date will mark the 125th anniversary of the formation of the City of Niagara Falls, completed when the Town of LaSalle incorporated itself to the city in 1927, but Boom Days has an older tradition in which it honors Cavalier LaSalle and Father Hennepin who opened the fur trade up for the France and crossed the Great Lakes to Wisconsin in 1679 from Griffin Park Boat Locks.

In full costume, Kenneth Sherman will play the explorer LaSalle while Walter Kendzia plays Father Hennepin, and both will paddle from Griffon Park Boat Locks to the LaSalle Yacht Club with any would-be companions.

A Piece of History Gets Renovated

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From the Niagara Parks blog:

Drive through Dufferin Islands and you’ll notice a hut constructed of stone boulders located at the base of Burning Spring Hill. The former police hut is the last of its kind still standing from 1907 and will be renovated to preserve a significant piece of history within Niagara Parks.

A complete overhaul will commence in Spring 2017 including a new cedar roof with copper cap, repaired block work, new masonry ledgers on existing window openings, and a number of structural repairs to wood and concrete throughout.

Once completed it will serve as a location for light displays, interpretive information on Dufferin Islands and some explanation of the plants and animals of the area.

NIAGARA DISCOVERIES: ‘A. Lincoln and Family’ visited Niagara Falls

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From the Lockport Journal:

Today is the 152nd anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. We know that our 16th president visited the Niagara Frontier at least twice, and possibly three times, before he took his first oath of office in March, 1861. Read More…

HOW NIKOLA TESLA HARNESSED THE POWER OF NIAGARA FALLS

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From Collective Evolution:

Can you imagine if we were still walking around at night using candles to light our way, or heating our homes only by fire? Sure, it’s romantic and nostalgic to do that once in a while, but at the end of the day, society would look extremely different without the use of electricity. Read More…

Daredevil seeks statue for Red Hill in Falls

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From the Niagara Falls Review:

One of the last men to go over the falls in a barrel wants to see a proper memorial for one of Niagara Falls’ most legendary figures.

Peter DeBernardi, who survived a 1989 trip over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel he shared with Jeffrey Petkovich, is trying to raise awareness for a possible statue of famed river man Red Hill Sr. somewhere along the Niagara Parkway. Read More…

HIGGS: Early tourism took visitors below and behind the falls

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From the Niagara Gazette:

Since Franciscan monk and explorer Louis Hennepin became the first European to encounter the “Falls at Niagara” in 1658 we could call him the first “tourist,” but let’s start in the early 19th century. We will begin around the time of the construction of the Erie Canal on July 4, 1817 in Rome, New York, which opened the door to travel (and commerce) across the state of New York. Read More…

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