Stephen Peer

Stephen Peer was born in 1840 in the Stamford Township. When The Great Blondin performed his first tight rope walk in Niagara Falls, he was 19 years old and was inspired to become Niagara’s first tight rope walker.

In 1873, Stephen Peer signed on to become an assistant to Henry Bellini, mainly helping Bellini string the rope across the gorge. Peer’s first public appearance opened with Bellini’s equipment, but without Bellini’s consent. In lieu of this, Bellini tried to stop Peer by trying to cut the tight rope, but was unsuccessful. After this futile attempt Bellini was chased out of town.

By 1887, Peer had become famous enough to begin performing under his own billing. On June 22nd 1887, Peer performed a tight rope walk on a wire cable with a diameter of 1.6 cm. The wire was stretched between the present Whirlpool Bridge and the Penn Central Bridge. Peer started his crossing on the Canadian side, successfully completing a double crossing.

On June 25th 1887, Stephen Peer was found dead lying on the bank of the Niagara River directly below his wire cable. It is assumed that Peer fell while he tried an unscheduled night crossing after an evening of drinking.

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