Niagara Falls in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Niagara Gorge Industrial Heritage
This old wall and staircase was once part of a giant aluminum plant located here in the late 19th and early 20th century. The Pittsburgh Reduction Company built three aluminum plants in the city of Niagara Falls and later named them the Aluminum Company of America (ALCOA).
The first aluminum plant was completed in 1895 a few miles from here on Buffalo Avenue. The other two, completed in 1896 and 1897 respectively, were located on the rim of the Niagara Gorge.
Bauxite Mining + Alumina Refining + Smelting - Aluminum Metal.
The aluminum plants in Niagara Falls based their smelting upon a revolutionary electrolytic process discovered by Charles M. Hall for extracting pure aluminum from common clay. Aluminum smelting traditionally required huge amounts of energy. Hall's process used less electricity and reduced waste by allowing further processing of the aluminum
Did you know? By 1907 ALCOA had contracted with local power companies for 75,000 horsepower, making it the largest aluminum works and user of hydroelectric power in the world.
The Final Product. The aluminum produced in Niagara Falls was refined into masses of metal cast in convenient form for shaping, melting, or refining. These metal "ingots" were sold to other companies at 30 cents per pound. The aluminum was used for airplanes, auto parts, cooking utensils, clock parts, office furniture, and wire.
Location. 43° 5.749′ N, 79° 3.665′ W. Marker is in Niagara Falls, New York, in Niagara County. Marker can be reached from Niagara Scenic Parkway (New York State Route 957A) half a mile north of Main Street (New York State Route 104). The Niagara Gorge Industrial Heritage Marker is located on the gorge rim trail. It is not visible from the Niagara Scenic Parkway (nee: Robert Moses Parkway), but the adjacent Niagara Gorge Important Bird Area board can be seen through a break in the trees from the Parkway. Marker is not accessible by car. I accessed this marker by parking at the Aquarium of Niagara Falls (posted for patrons only) and crossing the Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Niagara Falls NY 14303, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Niagara Gorge Important Bird Area (here, next to this marker); The Great Gorge Route (approx. 0.2 miles away); Park Place Historic District (approx. 0.2 miles away); In Honor of the Soldiers, Sailors & Marines (approx. ¼ mile away); The Most Combat Decorated World War II Soldier (approx. ¼ mile away); Niagara Falls Medal of Honor Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away); The Carnegie Building (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Boundary Waters Treaty (approx. half a mile away in Canada). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Niagara Falls.
More about this marker. The GPS coordinates for this marker are approximate. The portion of the Niagara Scenic Parkway adjacent to the marker has been redesigned since the most recent satellite photographs and Google street views were posted. The marker cannot be seen at all from satellite or street view. The pedestrian bridge is the best visual reference point to approximate the coordinates by satellite or street view at the time of this posting. The Niagara Scenic Parkway (called Robert Moses Parkway until 2016) is NY Route 957A, but the route number is not posted, and the parkway was permanently closed to vehicular traffic in November of 2016 from the gorge trails visitor building north to Findley Dr.
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. Birthplace of the Aluminum Industry.
Also see . . . Charles M. Hall - Wikipedia. (Submitted on July 23, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Science & Medicine • Waterways & Vessels •
More. Search the internet for Niagara Gorge Industrial Heritage.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 28, 2019. This page originally submitted on July 22, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 298 times since then and 7 times this year. Last updated on December 25, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. Photos: 1. submitted on July 22, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. submitted on July 23, 2014, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.