Heritage

Rich in natural and cultural resources, the Niagara Falls region has significant historical associations with American Indians, early European exploration, the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Underground Railroad. The Falls have long been an important site for hydroelectric power and ancillary industries. Together, these elements have contributed to Niagara Falls' importance in the American imagination, as a national landmark and a symbol of the American conservation movement.

“In short, the importance of this place is almost inconceivable; it is the key to the whole continent…

- Arthur Young, (British) c. 1759

The heritage area contains three National Historic Landmarks: the Adams Power Transformer House, the birthplace of the modern hydroelectric power station; the Niagara Reservation, designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and considered the oldest state park in the country; and the Colonial Niagara Historic District, in Lewiston and Youngstown, which includes Old Fort Niagara.

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Natural Phenomenon

Niagara Falls is a natural phenomenon that is overwhelming in its magnitude and deeply embedded in popular consciousness. Over Niagara Falls courses the outflow of four of the Great Lakes. The Niagara Gorge is the channel cut through the escarpment by the Niagara River over time.

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The Western Door

The Seneca Native Americans were the "keepers" of The Western Door. The Western Door referred to the area of land and waterways the Senecas were responsible for after the Five Nation Indian Alliance in 1450.

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Clash of Empires

Niagara's role in the mid-18th century global conflict between France and Great Britain known worldwide as the Seven Years War and in the United States as the French and Indian War. The portage at Niagara Falls was of international strategic significance as the gateway to the interior of the North American continent by way of the Great Lakes, and the British siege of Fort Niagara was a critical turning point in the war as it played out in North America.

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War of 1812

Preserved to this day, Old Fort Niagara and other landmarks of our region tell the tale of the War of 1812. The Battle of Queenston Heights was the first major battle of the War of 1812, and took place directly across the Niagara River from Lewiston. American soldiers gathered and prepared for this battle in the Village of Lewiston.

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Revolutionary Frontier

During the American Revolution, the British base at Fort Niagara served as a safe haven for those loyal to the British, whether European settlers or Haudenosaunee villagers, and a base for offensive operations against colonial settlements on the frontier.

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Underground Railroad

The Niagara Frontier was the ultimate destination for many fugitive enslaved peoples and represented the end of their perilous journey to freedom.

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Power and Industry

Niagara Falls was the place where the large-scale generation of electricity was first undertaken with tremendous implication for changes in the American way of life.

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History of Tourism

Niagara Falls is an international cultural icon and has been a favorite destination of travelers for two centuries and is representative of the evolution of tourism in the nation as a whole.

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Did you know?

In 2012 Nik Wallenda became the first person to cross the Niagara Falls by tightrope in 116 years. He did so after receiving permission from both the Canadian and United States governments, although he was required to carry his passport and present it on entry to the Canadian side of the falls.


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