Free Niagara

Heritage Moments: Frederick Law Olmsted and the stroll that saved Niagara

Aug 13, 2018
Photo from “Review of Reviews and World’s Work,” 1890

Niagara Falls in the 1800s was an industrialist’s dreamland and a huckster’s paradise. Cheap waterpower abounded­ — all you had to do was build a channel to divert a small portion of the mighty Niagara past your mill, and you were all set. And an enterprising “entrepreneur” need only buy a small parcel of land with a view, erect a tall fence and charge visitors from far and wide exorbitant fees to get a glimpse of the thunderous cataract — the Eighth Wonder of the World, once you paid enough to see it.