Sunday, July 10, 2011
Niagara Falls is a world famous natural wonder. It is the most powerful falls in the United States and perhaps the best known. It is also relatively close to where I grew up west of Rochester, NY. We have been there many times and always are amazed at the sheer power of the water. The falls generates a huge amount of electrical power and has played an important role in the development of the area. It also played a major role in the westward expansion of the United States. In this case, it was a major barrier to that progress. In the late 1600’s and early 1700’s, in order to travel west, you mainly traveled by water. The upper Midwest could be reached by the St Lawrence River, Lakes Ontario, Erie, Michigan and Superior. But first you had to get by these gigantic falls and the rushing river above and below the falls. This resulted in, what would today be an unbelievable portage around the falls.
The falls and the development of the area have a fascinating history for those interested in such things, but if not, they are still a thrill just to watch.
We have not as yet, viewed the falls from the Canadian side, as the wait time for returning to the USA side can be many hours long. Having stayed on the Canadian side in the past, there is a good argument that that side has a much better view of the falls.
The area around the falls, as I remember it, has always been a bit seedy. Regretfully, I have to say that is seems to be getting a lot worse. The big mall in the city of Niagara Falls is closed; there are only sad looking gift shops and mostly Middle Eastern restaurants to choose from. In driving around the city caused by a detour, we saw so many stores closed, houses abandoned, and houses and other buildings that look to be only one big storm from falling down. Not a pretty sight after visiting the falls.
Niagara Falls is a must see on anyone’s list!