Niagara Falls — New York, 5 October 1893

In the morning I visited some of the numerous curiosity shops of the city that, given their prices, seemed to be set up to exploit the strangers. The more interesting Indian made objects are  exorbitant. The falls are present here in numerous photographic images, and I might argue that they look even more effective in the image than in nature. Stuffed animals in the most incredible positions seem to be a popular souvenir article.

For a panoramic view in all directions, a nearly 100 m tall iron tower has been built whose top one reaches with an elevator in only a few seconds. But here too one has to regretfully note that scenic attractions were missing and the eye is only glancing over a boring plain full of villages.

From Rapids Park on the Canadian shore one descends in a funicular railway to the rapids called Whirlpool Rapids. The huge water mass is heaving, creating huge waves, through the narrowing gorge and even takes on a convex form as it doesn’t find enough space. Here Captain Webb died in 1883 while attempting to swim the rapids. A successor who however had himself enclosed in a barrel for the same purpose succeeded in this daredevil venture. It is well known that Blondin crossed the falls on a rope.

In every aspect very interesting is the drive of the small steamboat that steers from the American shore at Prospect Park to close the Horse Shoe fall, so that the accumulated dense water mist is spilling around the whole deck. With great skill the captain drives as close as possible to the waterfall so that the small ship is dancing on the whirls and waves and the spectators are really blinded by the bright sunlight reflected in the spray. While the river has a dark green color in other places, here everything is white — the crashing masses, the water mist and the numerous whirls that are foaming like boiling water. The dull roaring noise booming into the ears from up close confuses the senses.

The steamboat is named „Maid of the Mist“ in commemoration of an old tale that says that the Indians used to sacrifice the most beautiful girl to the god of the fall every year. She was put in a canoe decorated with flowers and then sent over the fall to her death. When fate had selected a chief’s favorite daughter, the desperate father rushed after her and disappeared together with his child in the roaring fall. In time the tale was changed and embellished, the Indian girl was turned into a fairy who adopts those who die in the Niagara either due to their imprudence or voluntarily. Every year, the river claims numerous victims.

Prospect Point is a sightseeing spot with a protective stone wall in the eponymous park situated just at the edge of the American fall and offers the opportunity for the visitors to see  at their feet the huge water masses crash down over the rocks, dispersed into white mist. Walking Eastwards we reached the bridge that leads to Bath Island and from there on by a second bridge to Goat Island, that had numerous sightseeing spots and a rich tree vegetation, among which Terrapin Rock next to the Horse Shoe Fall was the most remarkable.

Links

  • Location: Niagara Falls, New York, United States
  • ANNO – on 05.10.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing the tragedy „Die neue Zeit“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Aida“.
  • A song by Gareth Liddiard about Blondin crossing the Niagara on a rope and preparing an omelette:

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