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Niagara Falls in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Whirlpool Rapids

 

—Whirlpool Scenic Overlook Trail —

 
Whirlpool Rapids Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 13, 2014
1. Whirlpool Rapids Marker
Inscription. The violent waters of the Whirlpool Rapids flow into the Eddy Basin before entering the Whirlpool.

A major change took place here about 7,000 years ago, when water volume was low. The connection between Lake Huron and Lake Erie was cut off and the Upper Great Lakes drained through the Ottawa River and St. Lawrence Valley. Only the flow from Lake Erie went over Niagara Falls, and because of this a narrow gorge and shallow riverbed were formed.

Today, the flow of water coming from the wider Upper Great Gorge is channeled into the narrow section, thus creating the turbulent Whirlpool Rapids.

Upstream you will notice the Whirlpool Rapids Bridges. The first bridge across the Niagara Gorge was built here because of it being the narrowest point.

In 1848 a kite was used to get the first cable across the gorge for building the suspension bridge. In all, five bridges were built in this area alone.

The Lower Steel Arch Bridge (silver) opened in 1897, replacing the Roebling Railroad Suspension Bridge (1855).

The Michigan Central (now Conrail) Steel Arch Bridge opened in 1925, replacing the steel cantilever railroad bridge (1882).
 
Location. 43° 7.162′ N, 79° 3.879′ W. Marker is in Niagara Falls, New York, in Niagara County. Marker

Whirlpool Rapids Marker and Rim Trail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 13, 2014
2. Whirlpool Rapids Marker and Rim Trail
Looking Southward
can be reached from Robert Moses Parkway. Click for map. Marker is located along the rim of the gorge in Whirlpool State Park, south of the tourist shelter. The park is accessed from the Niagara Scenic Parkway (nee: Robert Moses Parkway). Marker is in this post office area: Niagara Falls NY 14303, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Eddy Basin (within shouting distance of this marker); Niagara Gorge Natural History (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Welcome to Whirlpool State Park (about 300 feet away); Challenging the Whirlpool Rapids (about 300 feet away); Niagara Spanish Aero Car (approx. 0.2 miles away in Canada); Whirlpool Rapids Gorge (approx. half a kilometer away in Canada); Thompson Point (approx. 0.6 kilometers away in Canada); The Inukshuk (approx. 0.7 kilometers away in Canada). Click for a list of all markers in Niagara Falls.
 
Regarding Whirlpool Rapids. The text pertaining to the Michigan Central bridge is outdated. The bridge is closed. The Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail) had owned the bridge. The City of Niagara Falls, Ontario purchased the right-of-way leading to the bridge from CP Rail in order to stop freight trains from traversing the dense tourist area near the falls. CP agreed to the sale after receiving trackage rights
Wide View Whirlpool Rapids Marker and Rim Trail image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 13, 2014
3. Wide View Whirlpool Rapids Marker and Rim Trail
Southward View
over the International Railway Bridge in Buffalo (Black Rock) controlled by The Canadian National Railway (CN).

The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge is sometimes known locally as the Lower Bridge, as in lower downriver (north) from the Rainbow Bridge, the prior bridge by the falls being known as the Upper Steel Arch (Honeymoon) Bridge. The Whirlpool Rapids Bridge is restricted to NEXUS trusted traveler members only, and is open from 0700 to 2300 hours daily. For NEXUS information see www.cbp.gov . The upper deck of the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge is rail recently purchased by Amtrak from CN. Amtrak trains 63/64 cross the bridge once a day in each direction between New York and Toronto.

For the history of the bridges north of the falls, see Seibel, George A., Bridges Over the Niagara Gorge, Niagara Falls Bridge Commission, 1991.
 
Also see . . .  Whirlpool State Park - New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. There is no fee for the park. (Submitted on June 25, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.) 
 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsEnvironmentRailroads & StreetcarsWaterways & Vessels
 
Distant View Whirlpool Rapids Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 13, 2014
4. Distant View Whirlpool Rapids Marker
Southward
Whirlpool Rapids and Whirlpool Rapids Bridge image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, June 13, 2014
5. Whirlpool Rapids and Whirlpool Rapids Bridge
The closed rust-colored Michigan Central Railway Bridge is immediately behind the gray Whirlpool Rapids Bridge.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 204 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on September 12, 2016.
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