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The Allan Herschell Factory Museum (1915-1970), the most prolific makers of carousels, produced over 3,000 hand carved wooden carousels. Approximately 71 carousels are still in existence in the United States and Canada, and were manufactured in North Tonawanda.
The Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum (180 Thompson St., North Tonawanda) is a premier national historic site and continues to be a community resource for family recreation. A new Kiddleland Testing Park was completed in 2013 and interprets a major part of the company’s later history. Annually, over 15,000 visitors go round and round at the Museum!
The first Maid of the Mist, a sidewheel steamboat ferry with twin smokestacks was christened in 1846. Entrepreneurs hoped to profit by transporting people, luggage, mail and cargo. In 1848, the Maid of the Mist was rebranded as a sightseeing adventure.
Don your complimentary poncho and soak up historical and natural amazement on the iconic Maid of the Mist, operating mid-May to October. Only available in Niagara Falls USA, this 30 minute boat ride will create long-lasting memories.
By the late 1860s, after much wear and tear during the Industrial Revolution, environmentalists urged New York State to reclaim the Falls and maintain the natural beauty of the land. In 1885, the Niagara Reservation was created.
America’s oldest state park, Niagara Falls State Parkstands today as an American icon and enduring legacy of the visionaries who worked to save it. With over 8 million visitors annually, the Park is home to signature attractions ready to be explored.
In 1896, famous electrical engineer Nikola Tesla transmitted electricity from Niagara Falls using his new alternating current induction motor. This was the first long distance commercial use of the AC system of electricity.
Hydroelectricity is one of Niagara Falls’ most important products. Together, power plants on both the American and Canadian sides of the Falls produce nearly 2.5 million kilowatts of electricity. Visit the Tesla Monument on Goat Island and have your camera handy!
The Niagara Project produced its first power in 1961 and at the time was the largest hydropower facility in the Western world.
Today, Niagara is the biggest electricity producer in New York State! Learn more at the Niagara Power Vista Visitor Center (5777 Lewiston Rd., Lewiston) with interactive exhibits and an observation deck.
In 1901, Annie Edson Taylor became the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel and survive. She tempted fate in an effort to gain fame and fortune, but passed away poor.
Visit Taylor’s gravestone, along with many other daredevils in the Stunters Rest section at Oakwood Cemetery (763 Portage Rd., Niagara Falls). Special events and tours are offered year-round.
On June 30, 1859, the “Great Blondin” walked along a tightrope suspended above the rapids of Niagara Falls, becoming the first man to walk across the Falls.
On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda, King of the High Wire, fulfilled his life-long dream of becoming the first person to walk a wire directly over Niagara Falls. With an audience of over 13 million, this walk marked Wallenda’s seventh world record.
From the early 1800s until the end of the Civil War in 1865, thousands of fugitive slaves passed through Niagara on the Underground Railroad as they traveled to freedom in Canada. The Niagara River was often the last crossing for people escaping slavery in America.
Freedom Crossing Monument now stands on the bank of the Niagara River in Lewiston and honors the courage of fugitive slaves who sought a new life of freedom in Canada. Learn more at the interpretive center at the Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University (5795 Lewiston Rd., Niagara University) and at Murphy Orchards (2402 McClew Rd., Burt).
On October 13, 1812, the United States invaded Canada. Lewiston was the staging area for the Battle of Queenston Heights, the first major battle of the War of 1812. During this hard-fought battle, Fort Niagara (Youngstown, USA) and Fort George (Canada) exchanged furious artillery fire.
Watch history come to life with events and attractions that commemorate the War of 1812. Old Fort Niagara (2 Scott Ave., Youngstown) offers a War of 1812 Encampment with living history programs. Visit the International Peace Garden (476 Center St., Lewiston) created to celebrate the friendship and 200 years of harmony between the United States and Canada.
In 1825 the Erie Canal opened, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River. The hand dug canal spanned 363 miles, and its completion helped to speed up the development of the West.
Explore the historic Erie Canal with a ride on the Lockport Cave and Underground Boat Ride (5 Gooding St., Lockport) or aboard the Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises (210 Market St., Lockport). Enjoy handson fun at the Erie Canal Discovery Center (24 Church St., Lockport) and then walk across the street and see renovation progress of the Flight of Five, a set of five 1860s-era canal locks.