Terrapin Point

Terrapin Point is located at the western end of Goat Island nearest the brink of the Horseshoe Falls.

In 1817, at Terrapin Point (Porter’s Bluff), Peter & Augustus Porter built a 300 foot long plank walkway. This heavy timbered walkway extended from the mainland of Goat Island to 10 feet beyond the crest line of the Horseshoe Falls. This overhang was frequently used by Francis Abbott, who would entertain tourists by performing acrobatic acts at the end of this walkway.

Porter’s Bluff is believed to have been the point where past Native American warriors threw sacrifices of war, weapons, and articles of personal adornment for the Great Spirit of Niagara. A few steps below this bluff are the Terrapin Rocks.

In 1829, on several large rocks near the end of this walkway, Terrapin Tower was built by General Parkhurst Whitney. It was the first of the towers at Niagara Falls to be built.

In 1872, Terrapin Tower was purposely blown apart, not because it had become unsafe, but rather not to compete with a new tower at Prospect Park. Those plans for a new tower were never acted upon and a replacement tower was never built.

The timber walkway remained in existence for many years following the destruction of Terrapin Tower. In the early 1900’s, the wooden walkway was replaced with a similar steel walkway to the Terrapin Rocks and the edge of the Horseshoe Falls.

In September of 1954, the area of Terrapin Rocks was de-watered and the metal catwalk was removed. The area backfilled to produce a large viewing area which is today known as Terrapin Point. This back-filling was done in order to reduce an irregular water flow over the brink of the Horseshoe. The irregular flow was caused by several large rock falls near the crest of the falls and because of water diversion upstream for hydro generation.

Book Your Niagara Falls Hotel Stay Today