Known as a premier tourist destination, Niagara Falls sits on the international border between the United States and Canada, boasting breathtaking natural beauty, a wide array of outdoor activities, and a history rich with captivating tales. Over the years, unexpected discoveries have been made, revealing lesser-known facts and hidden gems. This article unveils a few of these intriguing surprises that add to the wonder of Niagara Falls.
1. Cave of the Winds: While the Niagara Falls themselves are spectacular, there is more to discover at the foot of the falls. A journey down into the Niagara Gorge will bring you to the Cave of the Winds, an astonishing subterranean site filled with tempest-like winds and impressive stormy landscapes. These caves, originally discovered in the 19th century, offer a mesmerizing experience with torrents of water pouring down overhead.
2. The Illumination: Niagara Falls at night takes on a completely different character. Every evening, the falls are illuminated with an impressive display of color, transforming the waterfalls into an enchanting light show. What many may not know is that this tradition has been in place since 1925 and was originally lit by 24 spotlights with a total of 1,320,000 candle power.
3. Old Scow: Niagara's Upper Rapids hosts an unusual relic – an old, rusted scow stranded since 1918. Known as 'Old Scow', the boat became lodged on the rocks approximately 800 meters from the brink of the falls. It remains there to this day, an intriguing and mysterious testament to the power of the waters of Niagara.
4. Love Stories: Beyond its breathtaking beauty, Niagara Falls also holds an unexpected reputation as a Honeymoon Capital of the World. This began in the early 19th century when Theodosia Burr, the daughter of the third U.S Vice-President Aaron Burr, chose the site for her honeymoon. This set a trend for newlyweds, making Niagara Falls a top choice for romantic getaways.
5. Tightrope Walkers: The thrilling tales of those daring to cross the falls by tightrope add to the intrigue of Niagara. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, several tightrope walkers, such as Jean Francois Gravelet (also known as The Great Blondin) and Maria Spelterini, made death-defying journeys across the falls. Their courage and skill add to the exciting history of this unique location.
6. Hydroelectric Power: One might not associate Niagara Falls with technological advancements, but the Falls have a history with electricity. In the late 19th century, Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse constructed the world’s first large-scale alternating current (AC) hydroelectric power plant, harnessed from the mighty Niagara Falls. The historic site remains today as a monument of science and innovation.
While the majestic beauty of Niagara Falls attracts millions of tourists every year, the Falls hide a treasure trove of surprising tales and unexpected discoveries that provide an added layer of intrigue and wonder. Unveiling these hidden secrets allows visitors to deepen their understanding and appreciation of this awe-inspiring natural wonder.