A History Lesson With Booze ®

The Eerie Day the Niagara Falls Went Dry

Around this time, back in the 19th century, one of the wonders of the natural world... became one of the creepiest.

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Niagara Falls is the most powerful waterfall in North America. Every minute, 168,000 cubic meters of water flows through it. And on March 30, 1848… it went dry.

For real. That morning, townsfolk on either side of the Falls, used to the constant roar of all that water awoke to total silence. Where once flowed a mighty river, they found an almost empty riverbed, strewn with dead fish.

This was terrifying, on a bunch of levels. First of all, economically. The river powered water wheels in the local mills, but suddenly there was no river. The area also boasted a thriving tourism industry, thanks to sightseers who flocked to see the Falls. But suddenly… there were no Falls.

And of course there was the just-plain-freakiness of it all. While some curious locals wandered the riverbed, collecting ancient tomahawks and other newly-exposed treasures, thousands more crowded into churches, and prayed for God to bring the water back.

Turns out, the problem wasn’t supernatural.

What happened was, winds had blown tons of ice from Lake Erie into the mouth of the Niagara River, blocking it. When the ice melted 30 hours later, the Falls roared back to life.

And it’s stayed flowing ever since… except once in 1969, when engineers purposely dammed up the Falls to try and remove dangerous rocks.

A nice bonus: They found millions of coins on the riverbed. Which had to be hauled out in buckets.

The River Jam

Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com
Photo credit: Elana Lepkowski, stirandstrain.com

Mixed up by Peter Duchy, bar manager at the Remington Tavern, just down the river from Niagara Falls.

Ingredients:

Instructions:

Rinse a collins glass with hum liqueur. Add blackberries and muddle at the bottom with a very thin slice of lemon. In a shaker combine rye, jam, ice and shake. Pour the ingredients from the shaker into the glass and fill the rest to the top with soda water. Kick back and enjoy until your glass is dry.

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  • Same Sonnier

    The mouth of the river is at Lake Ontario, the source or headwaters are at Lake Erie…