Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls

Photo of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, New York
Photo of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, New York
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Photo of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, New York
Photo of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, New York
Photo of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, New York
Photo of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, New York
Photo of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, New York
Photo of Niagara Falls in Niagara Falls, New York
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Niagara Falls

The Niagara River between Niagara Falls, New York and Niagara Falls, Ontario., Niagara Falls, New York, Niagara Falls
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One of the great natural wonders of the world, for hundreds of years Niagara Falls has attracted visitors from both sides of the border, and around the world. The falls were formed more than 12,000 years ago when the river now known as the Niagara River exposed a weak layer in the rock over which it flows. That point was at present-day Lewiston, New York. Over time, the water wore away more and more rock. First cataracts, then rapids, then as a mighty waterfall, it marched slowly backward munching rock along the way. These days, the waterfall does not move as quickly as it once did. Human intervention tries to minimize the damage done by natural forces, and because of hydroelectric projects, less water flows over the precipice. The casual visitor would never notice that, unless they visit at night when the flow is most dramatically reduced. Many of the casual visitors are on their honeymoons and wouldn't notice much. It is something of a tradition in the northeastern United States and Canada for newly married couples to visit the falls. According to legend, this was started in 1804 when Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon's younger brother, honeymooned there with his American bride. There are three distinct falls in the Niagara Falls complex: The Canadian Falls (also known as Horseshoe falls), The American Falls, and The Bridal Veil Falls. The Canadian Falls are roughly crescent-shaped and are separated from the American Falls by Goat Island, New York. The American Falls are straight. The Americans and Canadians came to an agreement in 1950 on how to divide the water that comes down the river. Once that was hammered out, both sides built massive hydroelectric projects to take advantage of the water.

Quick Facts
Timeline
  • 1678: Father Louis Hennepin, a French missionary, becomes the first to document the presence of Niagara Falls.
  • 1757: Daniel Chabert Joncaire builds a sawmill at Niagara Falls.
  • 1860: People start illuminating the falls at night. At the time it was done with flares. Later with floodlights.
  • 1882: The Schoellkopf Power Station is built.
  • 1895: The first hydroelectric power station is constructed at Niagara Falls. It could only transmit electricity 300 feet.
  • 1896: Nikola Tesla develops a technology allowing him to transmit electricity from the falls to Buffalo, New York.
  • 27 January, 1938: The Honeymoon Bridge collapses because of a build-up of ice in the river below. 7 June,
  • 1956: The Schoellkopf Power Station collapses into the river when it is hit by a rock slide triggered by a small earthquake.
  • 1958: The Sir Adam Beck-Niagara power station is constructed on the Canadian side.
  • 1963: The Robert Moses-Niagara Power Plant is constructed on the American side.
  • 1969: In a US$1,500,000.00 project, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers builds an earthen dam to shut off the American Falls and study erosion problems. It is decided to let nature take its course.
Notes
  • The Canadian Falls (Horseshoe Falls) are 167 feet high.
  • The Canadian Falls are 2,500 feet long.
  • 90% of the water flows over the Canadian Falls.
  • The American Falls are 176 feet high.
  • The American Falls are 1,100 feet long.
  • 10% of the water flows over the American Falls.
  • Water for the Canadian power station flows through a pair of tunnels that are five-miles long, 45 feet in diameter and 330 feet deep.
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