The Niagara Falls! Have you ever seen something more glorious than all those thundering tons of waterfall off the edge of the cliff? The Niagara Falls are a major tourist attraction of both the United States and Canada. They situated right at the border between the two. They are a year-round attraction that attracts tourists from all over the world!
The Niagara Falls are situated at 17 miles north-northwest of Buffalo, New York, 75 mi south-southeast of Toronto, between the twin cities of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York, and at roughly 400 miles from New York City.
The falls were formed by glaciers that receded at the end of the last ice age. The period was also known as the Wisconsin glaciation 10,000 years ago. Then water from the newly formed Great Lakes carved a path over and through the Niagara Escarpment en route to the Atlantic Ocean.
The total height of the Niagara Falls is about 167 ft. There are three drops. The highest one is the Horseshoe Falls with a height of around 187 ft. and 2,590 ft. wide. The American Falls are between 69 and 98 ft. high, and around 1050 ft. wide. The peak flow over Horseshoe Falls was recorded at 230.000 cu ft. per second, and the average was measured to be around 85.000.
There are many hypotheses about the origins of the name. All of them are linked to the native American tribes that inhabited the land. There are several suggestions like the name of the Niagagarega people, and the Iroquois town called Onguiaahra (meaning point of land cut in two).
The first European settlers that were credited with mentioning the Niagara Falls are French explorer Samuel de Champlain, Finnish-Swedish naturalist Pehr Kalm, and Belgian missionary Louis Hennepin. They all have mentioned the place in their records from the 17th century.
In 1762, a British army officer named Captain Thomas Davies painted a watercolor painting named “An East View of the Great Cataract of Niagara”. More historical events include the visit of Jerome Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, British explorer John Franklin, and English chemist Hugh Lee Pattinson who took the first-ever photograph of the Niagara Falls.
In 1918, an iron scow got stuck on the rocks above the falls. The two men from the scow were saved, but the scow remained and is still visible today, more than a century after the incident.
- The first couple that went on a honeymoon to the Niagara Falls were “Dear Theodosia” Burr Alston and her husband Joseph Alston in 1801.
- There has been 5 tightrope walks over Niagara Falls. The first one was in 2012 by Nik Wallenda. He made several attempts, including one blindfolded.
- Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest In America. It was established in 1883 and welcomes nearly 8 million visitors every year.
- The Niagara Falls are very important for the US not only as a tourist attraction. They provide electricity or the state of New York and the Canadian province Ontario. They also provide about 20 percent of US drinking water.
- There are around 5,000 dead bodies (yes, of dead humans) at the foot of the waterfalls. On average, between 20 and 30 people die going over the falls each year with most of them being suicides.
The Niagara Falls are one of the major tourist attractions not only in the state of New York but also in the whole of North America. The falls drag more than 8 million tourists each year and are a cultural, and pop culture icon.