Monday, August 13, 2007
Until 1885, the two water falls that make up Niagara Falls - American Falls and Horshoe Falls - were privately owned, a fact that should belong in the nearby Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. For decades a fence blocked visitors' views, that is until they paid the admission.
In 1885 the government of Ontario stepped in and stopped the madness, but the tradition continues today in the form of parking fees. If one wishes to park within a five mile radius of the Falls, one must part with $18, $20 Canadian.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Falls, though, is the sheer lunacy it inspires in ordinary people. Take the case of 63-year-old school teacher Annie Edson Taylor. In 1901 ol' Annie became the first person to go over the Falls in a barrel. Since that time, 14 people have followed her lead, five of them dying in the act.