Magnificent Falls People vest the falls for their incredible beauty, a beauty that caused many renowned writers to put pen to paper. Charles Dickens wrote, “I seemed to be lifted from the earth and to be looking into heaven. Niagara was at once stamped upon my heart, an image of beauty, to remain three changeless and indelible. Later, Henry James recorded how one stands there “gazing your fill at the most beautiful object in the world. ” Oscar Wilde was not as impressed with the falls, describing it as “the second major disappointment of American married life. ” (Fodor’s Toronto, 1997, p. 117) Challenge of the Falls Before it became illegal, numerous individuals (professionals as well as amateurs) attempted to walk across the falls on a tightrope or go over the falls in a barrel. In 1859 Charles Blondin, a French tightrope walker, walked across the Niagara Gorge with his manager on his shoulders.
Years later (1901) Annie Taylor, a Michigan schoolteacher, was the first person to go over the Niagara Falls in a barrel. (Fodor’s Toronto, 1997, p. 117) Even though these stunts became illegal in 1912 that has not stopped those who live on the edge. Using boats, rubber balls, barrels, and jet skis, these daredevils continue to take the plunge. Some survive; some do not. References Encyclopedia Americana, Vol. 20. “Niagara Falls. ” Danbury, CT: Grolier Incorporated