From Yahoo! Malaysia News:
Niagara Falls had been a tourist destination for decades before 1901, but it wasn’t until Oct. 24 of that year that the first person decided to ride a barrel over the falls.
Former schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor made the plunge on her 63rd birthday, hoping for fame and fortune. Taylor, whose husband had died in the Civil War, had traveled around the country taking various jobs before eventually settling on the barrel scheme as a way to avoid poverty in her old age.
From The Walton Sun (Santa Rosa Beach, Florida):
Steve Trotter is an intelligent, well-spoken and charismatic individual who happens to have barreled over Niagara Falls, twice.
And, he’s about to do it again.
When he was 22 years old, the Freeport man was the youngest person ever to ride over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Doing what most people define as crazy, Trotter lives life on the edge.
Now 50 years old, and while shucking and jiving at the Acme Oyster House at The Village of Baytowne Wharf, Trotter spoke to the Sun about the first time he decided to do the unthinkable.
“I went to visit the Falls as a kid when I was 7 years old, and I just had a draw to it,” he said. “Then I saw Annie Taylor’s barrel and I thought, ‘I have to do that.’ ”
From the Niagara Falls Review:
After successfully going over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel on Oct. 24, 1901, Annie Taylor, the first person to try such a stunt, reportedly said: “Nobody ought to ever do that again!”
For 10 years nobody did.
Then along came Bobby Leach. A native of Cornwall, England, he was a daredevil full of bravado and bravery who first stepped into the spotlight in Niagara Falls in 1906 when he parachuted into the Niagara River after jumping off the Upper Steel Arch Bridge, which was close to where the Rainbow Bridge is now.
Leach’s ultimate goal, however, was to become the second person, and the first man, to go over the Horseshoe Falls in a barrel. After many delays, frustrations and considerable expense, he was ready.
I don’t know anything about this, but apparently there is going to be a play that is “about a real-life lady daredevil who survived a plunge over Niagara Falls”. The play will be about Annie Taylor.
From the Fairfax New Zealand Sun-Herald:
You’d expect a country whose exports include comedians Jim Carrey, Mike “Austin Powers” Myers and Leslie Nielsen (of Flying High and Naked Gun fame) to have a unique take on a world-famous tourist attraction.
Canada actually goes beyond the call of duty to exceed those expectations. Ever since 63-year-old American schoolteacher Annie Taylor became the first person to ride a barrel over Niagara Falls in October 1901 – accompanied by an anvil (for ballast) and her cat (for company?) – this natural wonder has had an offbeat side. You don’t even have to step off the tourist-beaten path to find unusual offerings in Ontario’s Niagara region – most of them are right there in the brochure.
From the Canadian Press (via Yahoo! Canada Travel):
Twenty-five years after stuntman Karel Soucek survived his trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel, a new exhibit highlights the daredevils who have been drawn to the site.
Soucek, from Hamilton, suffered only minor injuries in his plunge on July 2, 1984. He died, however, about six months later after a barrel-drop stunt at the Houston Astrodome.
The exhibit, which opened last month in the lobby of the city’s Imax theatre, features Soucek’s red barrel and seven others used by daredevils ranging from Annie Taylor (a school teacher who went over in 1901) to Steve Trotter (a bartender who did it twice, the last time in 1995).