Facts about Niagara Falls
Since its formation more than 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls has been a destination for world explorers, honeymooners and daredevils alike. Today, visitors flock to the region to be awe-inspired by the beauty and power of Niagara.
Niagara Falls has an extensive history dating back hundreds of years. The Falls were first discovered by French explorer Father Louis Hennepin in December 1678 and the Niagara USA region soon became a French stronghold, as they built forts at the mouth of the Niagara River, which is now modern day Old Fort Niagara.
Niagara Falls was the birthplace of commercial hydro-electric power. In Niagara USA, Nikola Tesla developed the alternating current system, which allowed for the transmission of power generated along the Niagara River to homes and businesses. In 1895 one of the world’s first commercial hydropower plants was constructed.
There are many fun facts about Niagara Falls, that make seeing Niagara Falls a more enriching experience. To learn more, read on:
More Fun Facts about Niagara Falls:
• Niagara Falls is comprised of three waterfalls: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls.
• The American and Bridal Veil Falls were turned off in 1969 by the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers to study the effects of erosion.
• The water that flows over the Falls is at 25-50% capacity at any given time.
• The first person to go over the Falls in a barrel was 63-year-old school teacher Annie Edson Taylor.
• The Cave of the Winds attraction at the Falls is torn down and re-built every year.
• Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest State Park in the United States.
• The birth of Niagara Falls can be traced back more than 12,000 years to the end of the last glacial period.
• Despite myths to the contrary, Niagara Falls does not freeze in the winter. However, the flow of water was reduced to a mere trickle for a few hours on March 29, 1848 because of an ice jam upstream in the Niagara River.
• During periods of peak flow in the summer and fall, more than 700,000 gallons of water per second pour over Niagara Falls.
• 20 percent of fresh drinking water in the United States goes over the Falls.
• At one time, P.T. Barnum wanted to turn Goat Island (inside Niagara Falls State Park) into a circus ground.
• Energy from the Niagara River has been harnessed for hydro-electric power generation as far back as the mid-eighteenth century.
• Power generation facilities along the Niagara River supply more than one-quarter of all power used in New York State and Ontario.
• 50 to 75 percent of the water flowing along the Niagara River is diverted from going over the Falls to hydroelectric power generating stations.
• One of the oldest surviving United States flags is permanently displayed at Fort Niagara. It was captured by the British during the War of 1812.
• Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University features a world-class collection of contemporary art and “Freedom Crossing: The Underground Railroad in Greater Niagara” gallery.
• The historic village of Lewiston was the site of the first battle of the War of 1812 and the last stop for slaves escaping to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
• The original Flight of Five locks that were built in 1840 still exist along the Erie Canal in Lockport.
• Surrounded by water, Niagara USA is a fishing mecca that offers exciting opportunities in and on Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and the Erie Canal.