In 1816, General Peter Porter and his brother, Judge Augustus Porter were given possession of Goat Island.
The Porter brothers built a bridge to Goat Island for the privilege of viewing the Horseshoe Falls. At Terrapin Point (Porter’s Bluff), the Porter brothers built a long plank walkway which extended to the crest line of the Horseshoe Falls.
In 1829, Terrapin Tower was built by General Parkhurst Whitney. It was the first of the towers at Niagara Falls to be built.
Terrapin Tower was built in 1829 on Goat Island at the eastern edge of the Horseshoe Falls. The circular shaped tower was 12m tall and 3.7 m in diameter and constructed of rough stone gathered from the vicinity. A winding staircase led to an even smaller door at the top of this tower, which led to an outside circular balcony guarded by a heavy metal railing. At this balcony, guests were provided with an unparalleled view of the Falls and the boiling gorge below.
In 1872, Terrapin Tower was purposely blown apart so it would not to compete with a planned new tower at Prospect Park. Those plans for a new tower subsequently never happened and the replacement tower was never built.
The timber walkway remained in existence for many years following the destruction of Terrapin Tower. It was still in existence as late as 1905.