History of Niagara Falls

History of Niagara Falls

The history of Niagara Falls dates back to almost twelve thousand years ago when the first humans arrived in Niagara Region just in time to witness the birth of the falls. That time was called the Paleon-Indian Period, which lasted until about nine thousand years ago, when the land was a lot different consisting mostly of tundra and spruce forest. That time, Niagara was inhabited by the Clovis people who were nomadic hunters probably camped along the old Lake Erie shoreline in tiny dwellings and simple living. Except for chipped stones, they left little evidence of their occupancy. This chipped stones where large, fluted pellet points which were likely used to fell the mastodons, moose, elk, and caribou that wander the land.

Nine thousand five hundred years ago in the history of Niagara Falls, a deciduous forest in fact covered southernmost Ontario, and this forest sustained the hunter-gatherers of the Archaic Period with diet of moose, fish, deer, and plants. The Woodland Period in the history of Niagara Falls lasted from three thousand to three hundred years ago, ending the peak of Iroquois culture in Southern Ontario. Bean, squash, and corn farming provided the main sources of food. Having sufficient food, the Iroquois had ample time for other pursuits and the population boomed.

The Niagara River which is an integral part of the Great Lakes Basin also plays an important role in the history of Niagara Falls. This river is a heritage of the last ice age about eighteen thousand years ago which covered southern Ontario by ice sheets two to three kilometers thick, ice sheets hollowed as it advance southward out in the basins of the great Lakes, then as they melted northward for the last time, it released enormous quantities of meltwater into these basins. The Niagara Peninsula became free of ice about twelve thousand five hundred years ago; with the last meltwaters that retreated northward flowed down through what became Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and Niagara River, down to the St. Lawrence River, and finally down into the sea. Originally, there were five spillways from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, but eventually were reduced to one, which is the original Niagara Falls at Queenstown-Lewiston. The falls began its steady wearing down through the bedrock.

About five hundred years ago the river came across an obstacle that caused it to be split into two channels, forming the Goat Island which was named after John Stedman whose goat herds froze to death in the winter of 1780. This was the original residue left from the vanished Lake Tonawanda. On the eastern part of the island, the American Falls took shape, while on the western side was the Horseshoe Falls where the river angles about ninety degrees. A third much narrower falls exists, and over the years have been called different names such as Luna Falls, Iris Falls, and is currently called the Bridal Veil Falls.

The American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Horseshoe Falls, all of these three magnificent waterfalls beautifully formed by nature and magnificently gathered in one location make up the Niagara Falls and its history. The history of Niagara Falls like many other histories outlines a part that makes Niagara Falls a wondrous creation of nature.