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A Year Without A Summer

From the book Water Over The Falls by Paul Gromosiak

The year 1816 is known in the Niagara region as “the year without a summer” because there were frosts in June, July, August and September. In May of that year, so much ice from Lake Erie accumulated above the falls that the American and Bridal Veil Falls were just about turned off. It was possible to go to the islands in the upper rapids just by walking on the ice. (There were no bridges to any of the islands at that time.)

Accumulations of ice both above and below the falls have always been an integral part of the process of recession of the falls. The ice breaks up rocks and erodes the gorge and river shores.

That May, Parkhurst Whitney, a businessman from the village of Manchester (now part of the city of Niagara Falls, NY) took his three young daughters to visit the islands above the falls. The girls especially liked exploring four picturesque little islands south of Goat Island.

Whitney though it would be nice to name those little islands after his daughters and infant son. He approached the owners of the islands, Peter and Augustus Porter, with the idea, and they agreed to it. What were once known as the Moss Islands became the Three Sisters Islands (Asenath, Angeline and Celinda Eliza) and Little Brother Island (Solon).

It’s interesting to note that all the islands above the Niagara Falls were created when the height of the Horseshoe Falls began to decrease a few thousand years ago, dropping the depth of Lake Erie and the upper Niagara River.

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One Response
  1. bernard hill actor says:

    Thanks for the nice read, keep up the interesting posts..

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