Images of America – Niagara Falls
July 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM
Niagara Falls USA has always captured the hearts and imaginations of visitors and residents alike. From the earliest settlers, to the eight million annual visitors, the beauty of Niagara Falls and the technological creativity it inspired is something books are made of. Thanks to the continuation of Niagara Falls and Niagara Falls: Volume II (both by Daniel M. Dumych, Arcadia Publishing), Images of America Niagara Falls 1850-2000 by Paul Gromosiak and Christopher Stoianoff echoes days gone by and a natural landscape that still exists.
See Niagara Falls as Fr. Louis Hennepin did in 1678, and take a ride into 1874 on the Inclined Railway. Cab-it in a 1920’s car (once advertised as the best way to see Niagara Falls). Today, buses of all sizes provide a similar and popular service. Learn the history behind the Cave of the Winds, a popular attraction where visitors take an elevator ride down to the base of the Bridal Veil Falls and walk their way back up through a series of staircases. Read about the preservation of water flow over the Horseshoe Falls, and an innovative erosion control device.
Island hop with a drawing by Augustus Porter, who, along with his brother Peter, owned Goat Island. The story of his business practices not being accepted by the First Presbyterian Church makes this photo book a real page turner. The bridges to Luna Island look familiar but they have changed over the years. The first bridges to Three Sisters Island were built in 1868 but today it is a stone bridge.
The Niagara River and Gorge were home to Charles Gaskill’s flour mill in 1875 and remained part of the Mill District until 1895, along with ALCOA and a couple of hydraulic power plants. The Great Gorge Route may be a hiking path today but it was once the route of a railroad and prior to that, where Italian workers spent long hours constructing it. Learn about what happened to No. 42 in 1935 and the infamous Devil’s Hole.
Across the Gorge there has been a suspension bridge (1848) with a moveable car, which was actually a basket. See views from the Canadian side of the railway and finally the completion of the Lewiston-Queenston Suspension Bridge in 1850, making it the second bridge to cross the Niagara Gorge (it was destroyed but a few remains linger). There are also photos as recent as the 1960s, showing the Robert Moses Parkway overpass and the Lewiston-Queenston Arch.
Niagara is known for its winters and the photos in Images of America Niagara Falls 1850-2000 illustrate what a wonderland it is. Prospect Point drew visitors in the 20th century and the ice mound was a popular place for fun in the late 1800s. There was of course danger, and there are tales of fateful walks onto the ice bridge in February 1912. Ice jams demolished buildings and ruined Maid of the Mist boats. Still, when the mist freezes on trees, a winter wonderland is created.
Discover the people and places of Niagara including Nikola Tesla, who made it possible to transmit electricity long distances. See the grand foyer of the reception room of the Shredded Wheat factor on Buffalo Ave. A photo of Niagara Falls City Market in 1908 shows how farmers brought their produce and other foods on horse-drawn wagons, while women walked among the wagon in full-length skirts. Victory gardens in the 40s, old school rooms, a 1967 Mustang outside of The Jefferson, and Hotel Niagara are also reflected in this walk down memory lane.
Paul Gromosiak is a noted Niagara Falls historian, historical consultant, and member of the Friends of Local History.
Christopher Stoianoff is the City of Niagara Falls historian and president of the Friends of Local History.
Meet the author
Paul Gromosiak will be signing copies of Images of America Niagara Falls 1850-2000 from 1 – 3pm Saturday, July 28 at The Book Corner.
Michelle Blackley is the Communications Manager at Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation (NTCC). Besides having the pleasure of calling Western New York home, Michelle has lived throughout New York State, including New York City, and abroad in Dublin, Ireland. A Niagara County native, she is a globetrotter at heart. With a background in journalism, book publishing and publicity, she explores Niagara County to report its happenings on the Niagara USA blog. Please contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her @shellblackley.