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Author Topic: Frozen Niagara Falls
snopes
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Thought you might appreciate seeing this old photo. I've read of this but never saw the photo before. Makes you wonder just HOW COLD and HOW LONG it was that cold!!



THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN WHEN NIAGARA FALLS WAS
COMPLETELY FROZEN IN THE YEAR 1911.
A VERY RARE PHOTO.

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Eddylizard
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Or was it the year 1848.

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"Ladies and gentlemen, this is what is commonly known as money. It comes in all sizes, colours, and denominations - like people."

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Bach_girl
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That is a really cool picture!

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Cactus Wren
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The ladies' outfits are clearly more Edwardian than early-Victorian.

And that is a great pic.

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snopes
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It doesn't look to me like the falls pictured are completely frozen. It looks like there is floating ice in the water just before the falls, and there are many icicle formations around the falls, but water is still pouring over the falls in at least three distinct streams.

- snopes

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Amigone201
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I was actually up in Niagara Falls just today.

It wasn't frozen [Frown]

I go there frequently; I've been planning to take some winter pictures.

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Amethyst Dragon
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That looks like the American Falls. I have been there in the wintertime, it's breathtaking. The area the people are standing on is a little penninsula (best seen in pic 3 of the link).
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Andrew of Ware, England
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quote:
Originally posted by Eddylizard:
Or was it the year 1848.

I do not think photography was sufficiently advanced by 1848 to take such a picture. Great picture, and thanks for the link Amethyst Dragon.

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Andrew, Ware, England

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Eddylizard
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quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, Elfland:
quote:
Originally posted by Eddylizard:
Or was it the year 1848.

I do not think photography was sufficiently advanced by 1848 to take such a picture. Great picture, and thanks for the link Amethyst Dragon.
This example from 1846 shows the possiblities of the calotype procss.

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NancyFancyPants
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I'll have to show this to my son. We were just there (American side) in July, his first trip to Niagara. He especially enjoyed the Hurricane Deck at Cave of the Winds; it was 92 degrees the day we went, and the Hurricane Deck was a great cool-down.

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Shoebox
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quote:
It doesn't look to me like the falls pictured are completely frozen.
No, they wouldn't be. The sheer volume of water going over either the Horseshoe or American falls is too great to be halted, I'd think.

My mom is from the Canadian side of the Niagara area (trips to the Falls constituted the weekly Sunday drive). This photo jibes exactly with her descriptions of the phenomenon as she occasionally saw it: water still spilling onto a massive buildup of ice chunks at the base. It's those base formations that usually give the 'total freeze' illusion - it looks like the water's freezing as it drops.

She describes it as "so beautiful, but so scary". I can just imagine.

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Squishy0405
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IIRC in the museum/infomation center they have there was a story in which several people died b/c a HUGE chunk of ice broke off killing several families ice skating...The guard rail is so close I could feel the spritz on me. It was a really great trip!

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videoguy
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quote:
Originally posted by Shoebox:
The sheer volume of water going over either the Horseshoe or American falls is too great to be halted, I'd think.

Not too great to be halted by humans!...
http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/pubs/nov99/story16.htm

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Mad Jay
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On one of the tours at the falls, oh maybe 5 years ago, one of the tour guides said that the water had frozen during the Prohibition, and people from US would walk across the Niagara to Canada to get some booze

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by videoguy:
Not too great to be halted by humans!...
http://www.hq.usace.army.mil/cepa/pubs/nov99/story16.htm

I have a core sample from that time. Yes, I have a chunk of Niagara Falls.

I also have a friend who, as part of his scientific work, almost fell in Niagara Falls in the winter.

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Cactus Wren
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quote:
Originally posted by Eddylizard:
quote:
Originally posted by Andrew of Ware, Elfland:
quote:
Originally posted by Eddylizard:
Or was it the year 1848.

I do not think photography was sufficiently advanced by 1848 to take such a picture. Great picture, and thanks for the link Amethyst Dragon.
This example from 1846 shows the possiblities of the calotype procss.
The women in the OP photo are wearing straight, fairly narrow skirts, and the one to the right (holding the child's hand) has a large and elaborate hat, both typical of 1911 fashions. Women in 1848 wore hoopskirts and bonnets.

Don't MAKE me come over there with my copy of "20,000 Years of Fashion".

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daisy747
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I was on the Canadian side a couple winters ago, and the falls were partially frozen. It looked like the top layer was ice but there was still water rushing underneath. It was very cool to see, and I'm glad I went during the winter. Plus the hotel room was a lot cheaper off season! I have never seen the falls in the summer, so that is a trip I have planned for the near future.
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Groundhog
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Actually, what caused the frozen effect was one particularly cold winter when ice floes off of Lake Erie got jumbled together and dammed up the river as it narrows down near the falls, effectively shutting off most of the water flowing to the falls.
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peculiar hailstone
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looks to me to be most definitely the US side of the Falls. I'm from 10 minutes away from the Canadian side and see it almost every day.

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Elwood
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Picture is also here: http://www.niagarafallslive.com/Facts_about_Niagara_Falls.htm

I have little doubt that it is real.

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Syllavus
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I think that it's a real picture, but I don't think it portrays the event that happened in 1848. The event in 1848 was caused by ice pile up that completely stopped the waterfall's flow and allowed people to take souvenirs from the river-bed. The photo looks like it's showing another time where the falls froze extensively, but as you can see, water is still flowing. It is a bit misleading that they pair that photo with the story about 1848, because the photo doesn't appear to actually be showing that event.

An interesting photo nonetheless and I don't doubt that it's real.

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Cyber
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quote:
Originally posted by Amethyst Dragon:
That looks like the American Falls. I have been there in the wintertime, it's breathtaking. The area the people are standing on is a little penninsula (best seen in pic 3 of the link).

Being a resident of Niagara Falls, Ontario (yay, I'm useful!) I can confirm that. That's definitely the American Falls. I can even provide a fairly comparable, more recent photo:
 -

I've worked for the Parks throughout my teens, and I remember explaining this photograph in one of the shops I worked at, The Feather in the Glen, many, many times. It's indeed real, but I can't confirm that it was taken in 1911. The photograph we had was never dated, and although some coworkers would guess a date when a tourist asked, we really never knew for sure.

I'd also like to clarify that the waterfall was not completely frozen over. The Niagara River expels roughly 700'000 gallons of water every second, where roughly 90% of that reaches the Horseshoe falls, and 10% reaches the American Falls. Even then, 10% of 700'000 gallons is 70'000 gallons, and that's a lot of water. That much flowing water is very unlikely to completely freeze over, and as you can see in the photograph... it hasn't. Those white jets you see are streams of falling water. Furthermore, the American Falls is very different from the Horseshoe Falls. While there is a LOT of free-falling water, there is also a quite significant amount which flows down the rocks, giving it a very arctic-white look. This may account for at least some of the photograph's appearance.

So no, the Falls never freeze entirely during the winter. They just get far less misty. And no, we don't shut them down every night (you'd be surprised how often we're asked that)

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Doug4.7
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quote:
Originally posted by Cyber:
And no, we don't shut them down every night (you'd be surprised how often we're asked that)

Ah, but I read that you do cut back the flow at night quite a bit to "restock" the hydroelectric ponds they use to generate electricity....

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