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Getting Around

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Fun Facts

Since its formation more than 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls USA 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 Falls.

Niagara Falls has an extensive history dating back hundreds of years. The Falls were likely first discovered by local Native Americans; however, the first European to document Niagara Falls was 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 Falls, 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:

About the Great Lakes

MORE FUN FACTS ABOUT NIAGARA FALLS:
  • Niagara Falls is comprised of three waterfalls: American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls, also known as the Canadian Falls.
  • Niagara Falls' vertical height is over 176 feet in some sections.
  • 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 falls will be turned off again soon so the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation can rebuild two, 115-year-old bridges.
  • Niagara Falls' current erosion rate is approximately 1 foot per year and could possibly be reduced to 1 foot per 10 years due to flow control and diversion for hydro-power generation.
  • The water that flows over Niagara Falls is at 25-50% capacity at any given time.
  • The first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel was 63-year-old school teacher Annie Edson Taylor.
  • The Cave of the Winds attraction at Niagara 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. A great amount of water was released from the melting ice, draining into what is now the Niagara River and then plunging over the edge of the Niagara Escarpment, a cliff at what is now Lewiston, New York. The force of this plunging water wore away at rock layers creating the now Niagara Falls.
  • 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. Learn more about the Frozen Falls here.
  • During periods of peak flow in the summer and fall, more than 700,000 gallons of water per second pour over Niagara Falls.
  • Four of the five Great Lakes drain into the Niagara River, (Superior, Michigan, Huron and Erie) before emptying into Lake Ontario. These five Great Lakes make up almost one-fifth of the world's fresh water supply.
  • Niagara Falls is not the tallest waterfall in the world; however, the beauty of the falls comes from the height and the incredible volume of water running over the falls at a given time.
  • Fish travel over Niagara Falls and most of them survive because of their ability to flow with the water and fall into the pool at the base of the Falls. Although they may be a bit shocked, fish can survive the Falls much better than any human.
  • 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 Old Fort Niagara. It was captured by the British during the War of 1812.
  • The Niagara Arts and Cultural Center (NACC) 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.
  • Niagara Falls USA are visited by over eight million people every year.
  • Surrounded by water, Niagara Falls USA is a fishing mecca that offers exciting opportunities in and on Lake Ontario, the Niagara River and the Erie Canal.

 

Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation
10 Rainbow Boulevard
Niagara Falls, NY 14303
1-877-FALLS-US

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