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Animals Go Over Niagara Falls For Entertainment

Below is an advertisement that began to appear in August of 1827 for an event where ferocious animals, such as panthers and bears, would go over the falls in a cargo vessel. This is word for word, directly from the posters that hung in Niagara Falls so many years ago.

A cargo of ferocious animals will pass the great rapids and the falls of NIAGARA 8th September, 1827, at 3 o’clock
The first passage of a vessel of the largest class which sails on Erie and the Upper Lakes, through the Great Rapids, and over the stupendous precipice at Niagara Falls, it is proposed to effect, on the 8th of September next.

The Michigan has long braved the billows of Erie with success, as a merchant vessel; but having been condemned by her owners as unfit to sail longer proudly “above” her present proprietors, together with several publick spirited friends, have have appointed her to convey a cargo of Living Animals of the Forests, which surround the Upper Lakes, through the white tossing, and the deep rolling rapids of the Niagara, and down its grand precipice, into the basin “below”.

The greatest exertions are making to procure Animals of the most ferocious kind, such as Panthers, Wild Cats, Bears, and Wolves; but in lieu of some of these, which it may be impossible to obtain, a few vicious of worthless Dogs, such as may process considerable strength and activity, and perhaps a few of the toughest of the Lesser Animals, will be added to, and compose, the cargo.

Capt. James Rough, of Black Rock, the oldest navigator of the Upper Lakes, has generously volunteered his services to manage the enterprise, in which he will be seconded by Mr. Leri Allen, male of the Steamboat Niagara—the publick may rest assured that they will select none but capable assistants. The manager will proceed seasonably with experiments, to ascertain the most practicable and eligible point, from which to detach the Michigan for the Rapids.

It is intended to have the Michigan fitted up in the style in which she is to make splendid but perilous descent, at Black Rock, where she now lies. She will be dressed as a Pirate; besides her Menagerie of Wild Animals, and probably some tame ones, it is proposed to place a Crew (in effigy) at proper stations on board. The Animals will be caged or otherwise secured and placed on board the “Condemned Vessel”, on the morning of the 7th, at the Ferry, where the curious can examine her with her ‘cargo’ during the day, at a trifling expense. On the morning of the 8th, the Michigan will be towed from her position at Black Rock, to the foot of Navy Island, by the Steamboat Chippewa, from whence she will be conducted by the Manager to her last moorings. Passage can be obtained in the Michigan from Black Rock to Navy Island, at half a Dollar each.

Should the Vessel take her course through the deepest of the Rapids, it is confidently beliebed that she will reach the Horse Shoe, unbroken: if so, she will perform her voyage, to the water in the Gulf beneath, which is of great depth and buoyancy, entire; but what her fate may be, the trial will decide. Should the Animals be young and hardy, and possessed of great muscular powers, and joining their fate with that of the Vessel, remain on board until she reaches the waters below, there is great probability that many of them, will have performed the terrible jaunt unhurt!
Such as may survive, and be retaken, will be sent to the Museums at New York and Montreal, and some perhaps to London.

It may be proper to observe, that several Steamboats are expected to be in readiness at Buffalo, together with numerous Coachers, for the conveyance of Passengers down, on the morning of the 8th. Coaches will leave Buffalo, at 2 o’clock on the afternoon of the 7th, for the Falls on both sides of the River, for the convenience of those who may be desirous of securing accommodations at the Falls on the 8th. Ample means for the conveyance of Visitors will be provided at Tonawanda, at Lockport, at Lewiston, at Queenston, and at Fort George, to either side.

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4 Responses
  1. cargo says:

    This advertisement from 1827 was rather horrifying to read.

    This passage, “Should the Animals be young and hardy, and possessed of great muscular powers, and joining their fate with that of the Vessel, remain on board until she reaches the waters below, there is great probability that many of them, will have performed the terrible jaunt unhurt!

    demonstrates the uneduated thinking of the time, the imagination that creatures could survive this!

    This is definitely not a case of “i wish it was like back in the ____”.

  2. George says:

    Fantastic.

  3. Dixie Cameron says:

    This is disgusting idiocy at it’s worst. Stupid people piss me off and the Fantastic and OK comments come from folks of the same ilk.
    I perfer public hangings. Fuck this. Morons!

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