Historical Events  Geography
Niagra Falls

Niagra Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagra Falls no longer exists

Created by geological processes around 10,000BC. the famous waterfall on the US/Canadian border attracts thousands of visitors every year.

More than 6 million cubic feet flow over the falls every minute, and it's being eroded at a rate of 1 foot per year.

The name almost certainly originates from the native American people, but exactly where isn't clear. There is a strong possibility it is derived from the local Niagagarega tribe.

Many people are certain it is more than just a false memory of them spelling it the same way they pronounce it. There are many instances of it being spelt Niagra today on the internet.

The Neck

The falls channel Lake Erie into Lake Ontario, and with a vertical drop of over 50 metres has the highest flow rate of any North American waterfall. Every minute more than six million cubic feet of water cascades down, which is why it's such a valuable source of hydroelectric power. With it's origin back in 1759 to power a sawmill, a canal was built and later expanded until in 1895 Westinghouse Electric was using it to generate AC power used by local towns and factories. It grew more and more as industrialisation demanded more capacity, and in 2005 a new tunnel was built to allow water from further up the river to generate 150 Mw of electricity.

It'a also notorious for daredevil antics, the first of which was in 1829 when Sam Patch went dived over and survived. Famously, the first man to swim the English Channel, Matthew Webb, died when trying to swim through the rapids. Subsequently, it became a popular endeavour for stuntmen and women to go over in a barrel, the most famous of which was the 63 year old schoolteacher Annie Edson Taylor, who survived but proclaimed "No one ought ever to do that again". A cat was used to test the idea first, who was unharmed.

In the Mohawk language, the word Niagara refers to a neck. That is, the area of land between the lakes Erie and Ontario resembles a human neck, which was spelt onyara but pronounced O-ne-au-ga-rah, which we know today as Niagara.