Challenging the Whirlpool Rapids

Challenging the Whirlpool Rapids (HM1EW8)

Location: Niagara Falls, NY 14305 Niagara County
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Country: United States of America
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N 43° 7.213', W 79° 3.878'

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The Whirlpool Rapids provided the ideal location for daredevils to pursue their riskly feats during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They challenged these raging waters by swimming, riding in barrels, and navigating boats through them; some paid with their lives.

In 1861, Maid of the Mist II, a famous sight-seeing boat that carried people close to the falls, was sold to a Montreal company with the stipulation that the boat be delivered to Lake Ontario. Captain Joel Robinson and crew navigated the boat through the Whirlpool Rapids to the docks in Queenston, Ontario, completing the first planned trip through these rapids. From Karl S. Brong, The Niagara Daredevils (1955).

Captain Webb in Whirlpool from Greenhill and Mahoney, Niagara (c. 1883).

Captain Matthew Webb was the first person known to swim across the English Channel, died while attempting to swim the Whirlpool Rapids in 1883. From Karl S. Brong, The Niagara Daredevils (1955).

Martha E. Wagenfuhrer, known as the "Maid of the Niagara Falls Rapids," was the first woman to conquer the Whirlpool Rapids alone in a barrel. Martha planned her trip for September 6, 1901, the same day that President McKinley rode through the gorge on the trolley line.

In 1886, Carlisle D. Graham was the first person to ride through the Whirlpool Rapids in a barrel. He repeated this stunt four more times, once with his head outside the barrel. This left his partially deaf from the waves pounding on his ears.

Great Gorge Route trolley line (1895-1935) along the Whirlpool Rapids section of the Niagara Gorge. Courtesy of Niagara Falls Public Library.

HM NumberHM1EW8
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 10:35pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 657442 N 4775982
Decimal Degrees43.12021667, -79.06463333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 43° 7.213', W 79° 3.878'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds43° 7' 12.78" N, 79° 3' 52.68" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)716
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1918 Robert Moses Pkwy, Niagara Falls NY 14305, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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