The Oneida Tower

The Oneida Community was established in 1848 at Oneida, New York by John Humphrey Noyes. A segment of this community, under the leadership of John Noyes and his ancestors, established the Oneida Silversmith Factory in Niagara Falls in 1926. They owned a large tract of land along the north side of Clifton Hill where they built a manufacturing business including offices and a factory.

In 1963, the Oneida Community Developments Company (Canada) Limited decided to further develop its Niagara Falls property by building a tower and commercial stores in a complex facing Falls Avenue. Under the direction of then company president, Pierrepont T. Noyes, an observation tower measuring 104 metres tall was built. The top of the flag mast was 108 metres above Falls Avenue.

This tower and commercial complex was designed by architect Alan R. Moody. It was constructed in six months by the Frankel Steel Company of Toronto.

Construction progressed at a rate of six feet per day. The top of this tower was capped with a two storey observation deck capable of holding 1,500 people at a time. Two glass enclosed elevators at the center of this tower were capable of carrying 1,800 people per hour. The upper observation deck was a partially open, providing people with excellent views of the Falls through special openings in the wire mesh fencing and to provide for the taking of pictures.

This tower was built of an open steel frame construction and was the first of its construction type ever built in Canada.  In addition to the tower, a five store – two storey commercial plaza was built at the base. The cost of this project was 10 million dollars , with the tower cost of 1 million dollars.

A giant 15 by 9 m neon company sign added to the beauty of the top of this tower. In 1974 this sign was removed because rust had rendered it unsafe.

In 1974, the Oneida Tower became known as the Niagara Tower and Plaza Limited.  In 1985, this tower would become the center piece of the Maple leaf Village Shopping Complex under the name of “Kodak Tower”.

Currently this tower is situated at Casino Niagara, and visitors are not able to travel up the tower.

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