Historical Accounts from 1755 – 1877

Monsieur Pouchot

"…The noise of the fall, increased by echoes from the surrounding rocks, may be heard a greater or less distance according to the direction of the wind. It is not unusual to hear it ten (10) or twelve (12) leagues, but as a distant thunder, which rolls very heavily…"  


Captain Jonathon Carver

"…The noise of these Falls might be heard an amazing way. I could plainly distinguish them in a calm morning more than twenty (20) miles. others have said at particular times, and when the wind sits fair, the south of them reaches fifteen (15) leagues…"  


Hector St. John de Crevecouer

"…We were obliged to make use of an Indian ladder which is simply two straight trees in which, with their tomahawks or hatchets they cut notches at twelve (12) or fifteen (15) inches from each other. In these notches you put your feet and by this means we got to the bottom…"  


Captain Enys

On July 18th 1787, Captain Enys witnessed and wrote about a moonbow (a rare occurrence when the light of the moon is being reflected through the mist of the Falls creating a colorful rainbow at night).
Captain Enys also described a location along the bank of the Niagara Gorge on the Canadian side which provided tourists with an unobstructed panoramic view of the Falls. This site was located at the brink of the cliff and was known as "Painters Point".  This site was was measured and cleared by Lieutenant Tinling, acting engineer at Niagara, of the 29th Regiment. 


Issac Weld

"…yet it is nevertheless strictly true, that the tremendous noise of the falls may be distinctly heard at times at a distance of forty (40) miles, and the cloud formed from the spray may be even still further off; but it is only when the air is very clear and there is a fine blue sky which however are very common occurrences in this country, that the cloud can be seen at such a great distance. The hearing of the sound of the falls afar off also depends upon the state of the atmosphere: it is observed that the sound can be heard at the greatest distance, just before a heavy fall of rain and when the wind is in a favorable point to convey the sound toward the listener…"  


Duncan Ingraham

"…after I reached the Genesee River, curiosity led me to Niagara, ninety mile, not one house or white man the whole way. The only direction I had was an Indian path which sometimes was doubtful…"
In 1792, 6,000 Six Nation Indians were living on the New York State Reservation. Ingraham described the existence of Fort Chippeway along the shore of the Chippeway Creek and of the severely cold winters and hot summers (96° – 100°).   


Duke de La Rochefoucault Laincourt

"…Chippaway was the chief place of an Indian tribe. About a mile above the falls, two corn mills and two saw mills have been constructed in a large bason formed by the river on the left.
It is most remarkable chiefly on this account, that the logs are cut here into boards, thrown into the Chippaway creek near its mouth, and by means of a small lock conveyed into a canal, formed within the bed of the river by a double row of logs of timber, fastened together and floating on the water. The breaking of these is prevented by other large balks floating at a certain distance from each other, which form, as it were, the basis of this artificial canal. The water retains in this canal and the rapidity of the current and conveys the logs into the lower part of the mill, where, by the same machinery, which moves the saws, the logs are lofted upon the jack and cut into boards. Only two saws at a time are employed at this mill. The power of the water is almost boundless…"
"…an iron mine has been discovered near Chippaway creek…"


Christian Schultz

"…Before the rising of the wind, as I was on deck, I could plainly distinguish the hollow murmuring of the Falls of  Niagara, although not less than twenty (20) miles distant [Lake Ontario]. As soon as the wind began to breeze however the sound was lost nor did I hear it again until I landed at this place [Fort Niagara]. The roar of the Falls can be heard at any considerable distance only during a perfect calm, when a light current of air comes from the direction of the falls: when I am told it has been heard at a distance of forty (40) miles across the lake…"  


Francis Hall

"…At Queenston, seven (7) miles from the Falls, their sound, united with the rushing water of the river, is distinctly heard…"  


Charles Joseph Latrobe

"…At the commencement of the present century, Niagara was difficult to access, and rarely visited, was still the cataract of the wilderness. The red Indian still lingered in the vicinity, and adored the "Great Spirit" and "Master of Life", as he listened to the "Thunder of the Waters". The human habitants within sound of its Fall were few and far apart. Its few visitors came, gazed and departed in silence and awe, having for their guide the child of the forest, or the hardy back-woodsman. No staring, painted hotel rose over the woods, and obtruded its pale face over the edge of the boiling river. The journey to it from the east was one of adventure and peril. The scarcely attainable shore of Goat Island, lying between the two great divisions of the cataract had only been trodden by a few hardy adventurers depending about stout hearts and steady hands for escape from imminent perils of the passage…"  


William Chambers

"…Manchester consisted on several streets in skeleton with a large railway station in the center and a number of hotels…"
"…the Canadian side had a series of paltry curiosity shops and at the Table Rock a labourer wheeling rubbish into the cataract. The road we took was lined with museums, curiosity shops, refreshment booths and raree-shows, a number of chinese pagoda looking edifices and other incongruous buildings had been erected on the Canadian bank. The banks on the American Falls had saw mills built up…"


Anthony Trollope

"…To realize Niagara you must sit there till you see nothing else than that which you have come to see. You will hear nothing else and see nothing else.
At length you will be at one with the tumbling river before you. You will find yourself among the waters as though you belong to them.
The cool liquid green will run through your veins and the voice of the cataract will be the expression of your own heart.
You will fall as the bright waters fall, rushing down into your new world with no hesitation and with no dismay: and you will rise again as the spray rises, bright, beautiful and pure. Then you will flow away in your course to the uncompassed, distant and eternal ocean…"


Sir Carl Wilhelm Siemens

"…Take the Falls of Niagara as a familiar example. The amount of water passing over this fall has been estimated at one hundred million tons per hour, and its perpendicular descent may be taken at one hundred and fifty feet, without counting the rapids, which represent a further fall of one hundred and fifty feet, making a total of three hundred feet between Lake to Lake. But the force represented by the principal fall alone amounts to 16,800,000 horsepower, an amount which if it had to be produced by steam, would necessitate an annual expenditure of not less than 266,000,000 tons of coal per annum, taking the consumption of coal at four pounds per horsepower. In other words, all the coal raised throughout the world would barely suffice to produce the amount of power that continually runs to waste at this one great fall…"
"…a copper rod three inches in diameter would be capable of transmitting 1,000 horsepower a distance of say thirty miles, an amount sufficient to supply one-quarter of a million candle power which would suffice to illuminate a moderately sized town…"


Vivian Hussey

"…It impressed me with a sense of its own grandeur, and of the impotence of man, more than anything I saw…"


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