Niagara Falls
Travel Guide

Niagara Falls, New York 

History 

 
 

French explorer Samuel de Champlain explored the region around the Great Lakes at the turn of the16th century and described the magnificent waterfalls in his journal. The earliest European migration to the region began in the 17th century with the arrivals of missionaries and explorers. During the period, French explorer Robert de la Salle together with Belgian priest Louis Hennepin explored the region and sighted the falls. The early European settlers were attracted by the fur trade, competing with the already hostile Indians and often resulting in warfare. 

Niagara Hall City Hall, New York State

Niagara Falls City Hall by Pubdog

The city of Niagara Falls was incorporated in 1892, and initially built around factories that utilized the power of the waterfalls for energy. By the end of the 19th century, the city was heavily industrialized but also had a thriving tourism industry. By the turn of the 20th century, the center of the tourist district was Falls Street, once a vibrant and carnival-like street that ran through the main part of the city. Though Falls Street is no longer its former self, efforts have been made to restore and revitalize this historic thoroughfare.

City of Niagara Falls, New York State

City of Niagara Falls by Ad Meskens

The city experienced an industrial boom from the 1950s to early 1960s, as several industries moved into the city to take advantage of the availability of hydroelectric power. However, many of industries eventually closed as what was once cheap to produce in Niagara Falls was now cheaper to outsource to other countries. As a result, the city’s population declined from its peak of 102,000 in 1960 to 50,000 by 2010. Currently, the city's main industry is tourism but continues to struggle economically.

The American Falls, New York State

The American Falls by Daniel Mayer

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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