Even if you've never visited the Niagara Falls, chances are you're familiar with them. They're three waterfalls that extend along the international border between Ontario, Canada, and New York. They're very famous and beautiful– every year, tons of tourists go to look and take in their spectacular glory.
Even if you're an indoor troll like me who never likes to wander very far from any electrical appliance, you can't deny the beauty of the falls. They're stunning and dreamy and all of the things.
Time for a history lesson! Did you know that in 1969, for a few months all of the falls within Niagara Falls were turned off? I know, it seems crazy but it's true– 1969 was a wild time. We went to the moon and we drained the most famous waterfalls in the world. What a time to be alive!
If you were to wander by the falls in 1969, you might've noticed that something was a bit off.
via: Getty ImagesAmerican Falls, one of the three waterfalls, is known for a giant rock pile at the base of the fall. These rocks are because of the natural rockslides that happen over time.
But in the late '60s, there was some concern regarding these rockslides.
via: Getty ImagesThere was concern that as more rockslides occurred, the rocks would erode the falls away.
What if the Niagara Falls ceased to exist?
via: Getty ImagesIt was a worrisome thought, obviously. In order to avoid that happening, and to study the composition of the falls, an American-Canadian commission decided that it was best to drain the falls for a total of five months.
The draining took place in June 1969.
via: Getty ImagesThe flow of water into the American Falls was diverted into Horseshoe Falls, and the American Falls were dry.
After the falls were dry, the US Army Corps of Engineers began their investigation.
via: Getty ImagesLet's take a moment to really imagine this. This was a huge effort and complicated process. Also, what on earth do you find when you drain the falls?
Two corpses, apparently.
via: Getty ImagesThe investigative team found two dead bodies, which is a lot less than they expected. The falls has a history of suicides and accidents, so this number can seem low to some.
Predictably, there was a lot of excitement from tourists as the investigation went on.
via: Getty ImagesAs the engineers did their work to study the geographical landscape and research the rocks, tourists were delighted to collect coins that people had tossed into the falls over the years.
I imagine it was a bit of a treasure trove.
via: Getty ImagesAlthough, I would feel bad collecting coins that people had thrown into the falls as they made a wish. It would feel like stealing wishes, would it not?
Many tests were done so engineers could gather their data.
via: Getty Images
They drilled holes for drainage in order to relieve the hydrostatic pressure in some locations.
via: Getty ImagesBut what about all the rocks at the base of the fall?
The general thought that the team had was to leave them where they were.
via: Getty ImagesThe engineers knew they could remove all of them, but decided it was a waste of effort for something that ended up being just an aesthetic problem.
So when did they decide to refill the falls?
via: Getty ImagesIn November 1969, American Falls had water flowing through it again after the investigation was complete.
It's crazy to think about the falls being dry.
via: Getty ImagesThere are so many interesting and cool facts about the Niagara Falls.
We've already covered this, but the Niagara Falls are made up of three separate waterfalls.
via: Getty ImagesIf you're like me, then for most of your life you assumed the falls were just one giant waterfall. But as previously stated, there are three: Horseshoe, American and Bridal Veil.
The falls aren't the biggest in the world.
via: Getty ImagesThey're definitely the biggest in North America, though. But there are roughly 500 waterfalls that are higher than Niagara in the world.
Niagara Falls connects all of the Great Lakes.
via: Getty ImagesIs it normal to find this fact kind of adorable? It's like a giant group hug, with lakes.
The falls aren't that old.
via: Getty ImagesIt may feel like the Niagara Falls have been around forever, but that isn't the case. Geographically, the falls are still considered to be in their "infancy" stage.
Can you guess who was the first person to ever plunge over the falls?
via: Getty ImagesA 63-year-old woman! In 1901, Annie Edson Taylor decided that her path to fame and fortune was to plummet over the falls in a homemade barrel. She survived but she did not become rich.
Where does the word "Niagara" come from?
via: Getty ImagesIt comes from the Iroquois word "Onguiaahra" meaning "the strait."
Before photography, tourists were forced to sketch pictures of the falls.
via: Getty ImagesIf you wanted a selfie, forget it. You'd have to bring along a friend to sketch you and the falls.