Oh, boy! Lots to show and tell. It started with a beautiful drive from Houston, PA to New York State Parks History office in Lewiston (Just down stream from the Falls) to meet Carol Rogers in person. She was instrumental in researching the Schoellkopf Power Plant. After a 200 ft elevator ride to the Gorge level, our young but capable guide Justin filled us full of history and lore about the plant. I got some cool reference photos that will surely show up in the book!
Burrell might have survived, had the power plant turned off the water flow shooting out the openings in the wall to the right. But the current carried him further out into the middle.
Then onto Niagara on the Lake to join our good friends Rose (a wonderful artist/illustrator) and Jim Gauss and settled in at the Eagle’s Nest B&B (which I highly recommend!) Our gracious hosts made us feel at home and fed us well! There were gorgeous gardens surrounding a lovely gazebo, where we spent our mornings chilling.
That evening, we were entertained by Patrick Sirianni at the Falls, listening to one amazing story after another about people who either went over the Falls, rescued someone or were rescued from the Falls, or who purposely risked their lives doing stunts around the Falls. We got soaked in the mist even way up at Falls’ View, waiting for fireworks that apparently got cancelled, but the stories were far more interesting.
We finished the night’s adventures with a peaceful horse drawn carriage through Niagara On the Lake, out to the shore of Lake Ontario, in the moonlight.
Saturday was mainly spent touring the Falls area with Patrick Sirianni. He’s a walking history book! We checked out the Aero Car and the whirlpool, then down another awesome elevator to the Gorge banks and the Rapids Boardwalk. You can’t imagine the size of these waves in the rapids. Picture yourself trying to breaststroke your way down these monsters… that’s exactly what Burrell Hecock had to try. It gave me chills.
Our “tour guide” took us out onto a now-defunct bridge that had replaced the Cantilever bridge, which is the spot that Kelly and some firemen tried to rescue Burrell. It’s a loooonngg way down, folks! You can see the beginning of the rapids just below the Lower Steel Arch bridge (or whirlpool bridge) right next to us.
We caught some interesting views of both Falls from the Observation deck where the original 1913 memorial to Burrell is now displayed.
I then had the honor and privilege of meeting Dan Hill in person. What a great guy! And an incredibly interesting family. He invited us back when we have more time, to rummage through newspaper clippings about his Granddad, Red Hill, and all his adventures and rescues on the river. I’m playing with an off-shoot comic strip called “Being Red”, illustrating his adventures.
The rest of the weekend went like this: a beautiful sunset on Lake Ontario, a few wine tastings at local vineyards, and of course the Grand Canadian Steam Punk Expo! Sunday finished with a Super Moon Eclipse, of which we could not see due to clouds. If any one has photos, I’d love to see them!