With the Niagara Falls State Park to its credit, this is one of the most beautiful places in the world. (It's worth mentioning that the Niagara Falls State Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead―the same person who designed the Central Park in New York City.) Then there is the volume of water that comes down the Falls. Also playing a crucial role, are the historical accounts which speak volumes about the death-defying feats of daredevils. All in all, there is no dearth of interesting information about this waterfall.
Interesting Facts About the Niagara Falls
» The Niagara Falls came into existence when the Wisconsin glacier began retreating, around 10,000 - 12,000 years ago. Though it remains contested, it is believed that this waterfall derives its name from the Iroquois word Onguiaahra, meaning the 'thundering noise of water'.
» As a result of erosion, the falls are retreating at the rate of 1 ft a year. If we are to go by geological evidence, the Horseshoe Falls has retreated by 7 miles as of today. At the ongoing rate, experts are of the opinion that the Niagara Falls will disappear in another 50,000 years.
» During the peak season, water flows through the Niagara Falls at the rate of 202,000 cu ft per second. The copious amount of water comes down these falls at an unbelievable speed of 32 ft per second.
» At 52 m (170 ft), the deepest point of river Niagara, which is located right at the base of the waterfall, is as deep as the height of the waterfall. And as for width, the three falls together span a distance of 2,600 ft.
» In 1969, the American Falls was dammed for a period of six months and its water was diverted to the Horseshoe Falls to clear the buildup of rock at the bottom.
» In October 1829, the famous daredevil from the United States, Sam Patch―also known as 'The Yankee Leaper'―pulled off an amazing feat by jumping into the base of the waterfall from a raised platform, thus becoming the first person to survive a daredevil stunt at the Niagara Falls.
» Renowned tight-rope walker, Jean François "Blondin" Gravelet walked across the falls for the first time in 1859. He didn't just stop at that though. He pulled off this feat a couple of times thereafter; once blindfolded, once with his manager on his back, and on one occasion he even stopped midway to prepare a meal.
» On October 24, 1901, a school teacher hailing from Michigan, Annie Edson Taylor performed a unique publicity stunt and went over the Niagara Falls in a custom-made barrel. Taylor was 63 year old when she pulled off this feat.
» Captain Matthew Webb―the first person to cross the English Channel without any equipment―lost his life attempting to cross the rapids of river Niagara below the Falls in 1889. Other daredevils who died at the Niagara Falls include Canadian tightrope walker, Stephen Peer; Englishmen, Charles Stephens; Greek adventurer, George Stathakis; and American adventurers, Jessie Sharp and Robert "Bob" Overacker.
» Besides all the incidents of daredevilry gone bad, many people have committed suicide and some have met with fatal accidents at the Niagara Falls. The authorities have recovered over 5,000 bodies from the Falls since 1850.
Approximately 28 million tourists visit the Niagara Falls every year, thus making it one of the most-visited natural wonders of the world. Some of the most amazing tourist attractions of this region include the Maid of the Mist Tour, Cave of the Winds Tour, Rainbow Bridge, Journey Behind the Falls, etc. Though the waterfall is open all throughout the year, the best time to visit it is between May and September. With all these tourist attractions to its credit, rest assured, a visit to the Niagara Falls is bound to go down the memory lane as one of those unforgettable experiences of your life.