Niagara Falls in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Power of the American Rapids
In the 1750's, Daniel Chabert de Joncaire built a sawmill and dug a small canal along these rapids. The canal created an island that was later called Willow Island. During the French and Indian War, Joncaire burned the sawmill to keep it out of British hands. In 1805, Augustus and Peter Porter and other local businessmen purchased land near the falls. The sawmill was rebuilt, and along with other industries, helped establish the village that would eventually become Niagara Falls. During the construction of the Robert Moses Parkway in the 1960s, Joncaire's canal was filled in.
In the spring of 1969, a cofferdam made of boulders, gravel, and soil was built from the mainland to the upper end of Goat Island to prevent water from flowing over the American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. Between June and November, scientists and engineers conducted an in-depth geologic study of the rock. They determined that the talus, or rocks below the falls, should
Canal channel, rustic bridge, and part of Willow Island to the right. Photograph courtesy of the Niagara Falls Public Library.
Construction of cofferdam out from the mainland.
Cofferdam being removed from the American Rapids channel.
Rapids above the American Falls, ca. 1868 postcard.
The lower section of the American Rapids has been illuminated at night since 1989, and the upper section since 1998.
Location. 43° 5.02′ N, 79° 3.844′ W. Marker is in Niagara Falls, New York, in Niagara County. Marker can be reached from Niagara Scenic Parkway (New York State Route 957A) 0.1 miles west of 1st Street. Touch for map. Marker is in Niagara Falls State Park. It is on the mainland walking path beside the upper Niagara River, about midway between the two bridges to Goat Island. The Niagara Scenic Parkway is segmented here by the state park, and current construction has rolled it back farther; it does not quite reach the marker. Prior to 2016 the parkway went by its original name, the 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. Site of First House (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Niagara County Medal of Honor Monument (about 600 feet away); Town of Niagara Civil War Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Niagara's Industrial Beginnings and the Establishment of the State Reservation (approx. 0.2 miles away); First Presbyterian Church (approx. ¼ mile away); Height, Sight, and Flight / The Niagara River Corridor Important Bird Area (approx. ¼ mile away); Prospect Point Viewing Area (approx. 0.3 miles away); Goat Island Flora (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Niagara Falls.
Categories. • Environment • Industry & Commerce • War, French and Indian • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on September 12, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 30, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 217 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on August 30, 2015, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.