Niagara Falls Daredevils

Here are three of the most notable Niagara Falls daredevils. The first is Annie Taylor who, in 1901, dropped 158 feet over Horseshoe Falls in a barrel and became the first man or woman to survive it. Click to enlarge the photo and note the cat on the barrel’s rim.

ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, JUNE 25--Michigan schoolteacher Annie Taylor, at age 43, poses with her famous barrel in this undated file photo. Taylor went over Niagara Falls in the oak barrel on Oct. 24, 1901. (AP Photo/Buffalo News, file)

The second daredevil is The Great Bandini who, in 1859, was the first to cross on a tightrope. The walk took 20 minutes on a 1100-foot, 3-inch diameter, manila rope. His 30-foot balancing pole weighed 40 pounds. That summer he made 8 more crossings , one carrying his manager (see photo) and the next year pushing a wheelbarrow.blodin1859

And then there is Maria Spelterini who in 1876 became the first female tightrope walker. One one occasion she walked from the American side to the Canadian side and back again! Another time she skipped across, and yet another time she did it blindfolded. But the most noteworthy trip was when she walked across with peach baskets attached to her feet (see photo, click to enlarge).mariaspelterini9large

For a supurb write-up of these and many other daredevils, check out

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Niagara Falls Turned Off

For six months in 1969 the Army Corps of Engineers diverted Niagara’s flow in order to check the stability of the rock to avoid the possibility of collapse.niagoff2niagoffniagoffnow

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Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is comprised of three separate falls, two (American and Bridal Veil) on the American side and one (Horseshoe) on the Canadian side.Together they flow an average of 3,160 tons of water per second! They are seen by three million people a year. On the American side most visitors view from Niagara Falls State Park in New York–the oldest state park in the United States. The first three photos are of American Falls in 1855, 1860 and frozen in 1900. The fifth photo is from the Canadian side in 1906.







Visitor in the mist in 1907 and recently.

Seeing Niagara Falls


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Grove Park Inn

Grove Park Inn is located in Ashville NC and opened in 1913. Four hundred men worked 10-hour shifts six days a week for $1 a day. Everything had to be hauled up the mountain either by mule train or by car train (for the heavier boulders some weighing as much as 10,000 pounds). The roof is 5 1/2 inch poured concrete yet gives a thatched roof appearance. Inside is the largest collection of Mission style furniture in the country. Many famous people have stayed here including Houdini, Will Rogers Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and 10 Presidents.  F. Scott Fitzgerald spent the summers of 1935 and 36 at the Inn to be near Zelda, who was in a nearby sanitarium. Deemed too costly to tear down, it was renovated, including the addition of a 40,000 sq. ft. spa, and then another $25,000,000 was spent in 2012. The first two photos show a mule train and a car train in 1912 (click to enlarge). The  third photo shows the Inn’s  setting in 1913 just before it opened. Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford appear in the 1918 photo. The next photo is undated.









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Phoenix Building

The Phoenix Building is located in Pittsford NY. It was opened in 1814 as an inn along a stage line.It served that purpose for 150 years hosting the likes of DeWitt Clinton (who was surveying for the eventual Erie Canal),  the Marquis de Lafayette, and Daniel Webster. It burned in 1963 and sat idle for one year before it was renovated into commercial and office space. The first photo is dated 1910, the second is from the 1920s, and the third is a Parade Day in the late 20s.





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Bush House

Bush House is located in Index WA and opened in 1898. It served the tourist trade from Seattle as well as the growing local lumber and mining industries causing the need for extensive additions to the original building. However, it eventually fell into disrepair and closed in 2001 and was sold in 2011. The new owners have made extensive repairs and, although no date has been set, it is expected to reopen soon. The first photo shows the original building in 1891 while the third shows Bush House with the first car to arrive in Index, and the fourth is from the early 1900s.








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Timberline Lodge

Timberline Lodge is located at the base of Mt. Hood OR having been constructed by the WPA starting in 1936 and dedicated by FDR in 1937. It served as an exterior for the hotel in the movie  The Shining. Timberline Lodge is four stories tall, is 40,000 square feet, and is open for skiing year round, which accounts for its average of 2,000,000 visitors a year. The first photo shows the building under construction and the third and fourth show it’s dedication.






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Cashtown Inn

The Cashtown Inn was built in 1797 and got it’s name from the owner’s requirement for cash to use his road. It was heavily occupied by Confederate forces during the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863. The Confederates’ retreat started at the Inn and consisted of a 17-mile wagon train . The Inn is now a B&B. A personal note–take the two-hour horseback ride through the battlefield and return to the Cashtown for some drinks at the very same bar where Sam Elliot and Martin Sheen hoisted a few after a days’ filming of the movie Gettysburg. (See last photo below)

The front of the Inn was the site of General Lee and his troops hearing the heavy sounds of the battle’s first day–July 1, 1863. The first photo is a painting by Mort Kunstler capturing that moment. The next photo is dated 1909.


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Turkey Run Inn

Turkey Run State Park is located in west central Indiana near the town of Marshall.  The Inn opened in 1919 and looks much the same as it did back then.  The first photo is undated.


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Barlow Trail Roadhouse

Located in Zig Zag, Oregon, the Barlow Trail Roadhouse was originally called The Gateway Inn since it was (and still is)  the gateway to the Mount Hood area from the west. Built in 1926 it was a favorite hangout for workers constructing the nearby Timberline Lodge at the base of Mount Hood. It was known to have “the best food downstairs and the best girls upstairs”. The first photo is from the 1930s.



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