Prospect Rock Fall

On July 24, 1954, a huge section of Prospect Point observation area at the brink of the American Falls. The section of rock that collapsed was in a pie shape, sending an estimated 185,000 tons of rock thundering into the Niagara River Gorge.

The next day Engineers and Geologists began conducting surveys to determine whether blasting was going to be necessary in order to stall further rockfalls at Niagara Falls, although park officials believed that another collapse would occur before any blasting started.

Only two sections of Prospect Point were hanging over the gorge. Officials estimated that a new fall could send an estimated 50,000 tons of rock into the gorge.

Witnesses said the view from the base of the American Falls has been damaged . No indication as to whether the elevator to the Maid of the Mist at the base of the American Falls would be re-opened.

This was the worst rock fall at Prospect Point since January 17th 1931 when a huge section of the American Falls tumbled into the gorge.

Diners in the Rainbow Room Restaurant of the General Brock Hotel (now the Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls – Fallsview Hotel) had a close-up view of the deep hole gouged into the American cliff.

On August 6th, it was decided that another 80 tons of rock was going to be blasted from Prospect Point. The part that is to be blasted is barely on the gorge and authorities wanted it removed immediately. The Niagara Frontier State Parks Commission worked diligently to make the famous point safe for tourists and workers alike.

Prospect Point lost another 1,800 tons of rock on August 12, 1954. This time the cause was a 95 pound dynamite blast that sent 2/3’s of the condemned section into the gorge. Four hundred people viewed the blast.

Immediately afterwards, dynamite experts began preparing for another blast the following day to clear the 900 tons of rock which failed to give way.

One more blast is required and Debbie Stone was a 4 year old girl who was going to set off the dynamite. She was completely paralyzed, so with her nose she was going to touch off the blast on August 16 at 1:00 p.m. From her home in California. Telephone wires will carry her impression across the continent to a detonator at Prospect Point. It will be as though she were standing right beside the real detonator.

On August 16th 1954, Little Debbie Stone detonated the dynamite charge at Prospect Point which sent 900 tons of loose rock to the base of the Niagara Gorge ending a chapter in Niagara history. Since then there hasn’t been another rockfall at Prospect Point.

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