Everyone knows the story of Annie Taylor who was the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in 1901. She was from Lockport, NY (about 20 miles away from Niagara Falls) and worked as a schoolteacher. What people might not know is that her cat, Lagara, survived the plunge over Niagara Falls in a barrel before she did.
Despite being a popular attraction for tourists and daredevils alike, there had yet to be an attempt to actually go over Niagara Falls by 1901. Taylor, who was desperate for fame and fortune, wanted to be the first.
She had a custom barrel made specifically for the stunt. It measured four and a half inches high and was stuffed with pillows and a mattress. A small hole with a tube was even included so she would have access to air.
This was when Taylor decided to give the barrel a trial run over Niagara Falls with her cat - Lagara - inside. Taylor released the barrel on the Niagara River about a mile before the falls. Taylor watched as it drifted toward the Horseshoe Falls and went over. Lagara survived the plunge!
Knowing that the barrel would work, it was Taylor's turn to follow in Lagara's footsteps (or would it be paw prints?). She took the barrel to roughly a mile up river from the falls, got in, and started to drift toward the Horseshoe Falls. About fifteen to twenty minutes later, Taylor plummeted over the edge and fell over 185 feet to the waters below. Shortly afterward Taylor's barrel was taken out of the water by rescuers who were relieved to see she was still alive.
Although Taylor was the first person to ever survive going over Niagara Falls, it turns out she was actually the second living creature to survive going over it in a barrel. That honor belongs to Lagara.
SEE IT YOURSELF! If you would like to view where the barrel went over the Horseshoe Falls, a perfect place is Terrapin Point located on Goat Island, U.S.A.
As you stand there and take in the thunderous roar of water spilling onto the rocky pool below, you’ll notice something quite magical. Several visitors have remarked that they felt a sensation of being drawn closer. Once there, you will have a front row seat to the power of the falls as water is driven into the lower Niagara River. Click here for more information: https://www.niagaraaction.com/explore/terrapin-point