The First Barrel Experience Down Niagara Falls Occurs In 1901

1900s | April 9, 2021

Annie Edson Taylor, first individual to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive (cat in picture is probably going the identical cat that went over the falls in a check run). (Library of Congress/WIkimedia Commons)

The speeding waters of Niagara Falls name out to daredevils internationally with a siren track first heard by Annie Edson Taylor, who strapped herself right into a barrel and have become the Victorian widow Evel Knievel in 1901. No less than 16 folks have gone over the falls since Taylor’s journey, 11 of whom even survived.

Do not Go Chasing Waterfalls

Niagara Falls might be pretty, nevertheless it’s additionally lethal. Each second, 600,000 gallons of water rush over Horseshoe Falls, the most important of Niagara’s three waterfalls and most secure for barrelers. All of that water will get you over the falls fairly rapidly, so anyone taking the 170-foot plunge runs a serious danger of concussion or breaking some bones when their experience hits the water, however that is truly not the worst-case state of affairs. It is solely potential to get trapped within the falls and drown, like one man who could not be retrieved for 14 hours in 1930.

Annie Taylor posing subsequent to her barrel. (Francis J. Petrie {Photograph} Assortment/Wikimedia Commons)

Annie Edson Taylor

Why would anybody danger such a horrible destiny? Fame, child. Whereas Taylor was the primary individual to go over the falls in a barrel, she was truly impressed by Sam Patch, who survived the drop from Horseshoe Falls with no gear. That is proper: He jumped from the falls in 1829 with nothing however the garments on his again.

In 1901, Taylor was at residence in Bay Metropolis, Michigan when she learn in regards to the Pan-American Exposition scheduled to happen in Buffalo in addition to the falls about 25 minutes away. As a former schoolteacher and childless widow (her solely son died as an toddler) who had been drifting across the Midwest, hoping to show music or dance, she had a considerably urgent want for cash, and she or he figured a barrel roll over Niagara Falls was simply the ticket. On the flip of the twentieth century, this was a very viable profession possibility. Harry Houdini made a dwelling from improbable escapes and wild stunts, so why could not she?

Taylor’s grave. (Knightflyte/Wikimedia Commons)

Going Over

Taylor did not take her journey over the Falls in any outdated pickle barrel. After strapping herself right into a barrel simply over 5 ft in size outfitted with a leather-based harness and cushions to maintain her considerably snug as she smacked into the water, the barrel was towed into the center of the Niagara River and set adrift to start the maddening 20-minute journey by means of 200 ft of rocky rapids towards the falls.

After she went over and made her technique to the shore, she posed for pictures and gave a brief collection of interviews through which she harassed how very a lot she regretted every part. “If it was with my dying breath, I might warning anybody in opposition to making an attempt the feat,” she told the press. “I might sooner stroll as much as the mouth of a cannon, realizing it was going to blow me to items, than make one other journey over the autumn.”

She did not even get a lot out of it. She earned modest sums talking about her expertise, however most of it was spent on personal detectives to trace down her former supervisor, who stole her barrel. She might need even thought of the entire thing a internet adverse, as she blamed her later imaginative and prescient and different well being issues on the journey over the falls. She spent the remainder of her days working a collection of wierd jobs (and we do imply “odd”—she labored as a clairvoyant for a while) till she died penniless in 1921. She was buried alongside different daredevils within the “Stunter’s Relaxation” plot of Oakwood Cemetery close to these cursed waterfalls, so not less than that is fairly cool.

Bobby Leach and his barrel after his perilous journey over Niagara Falls, July 25, 1911. (Library and Archives Canada/Wikimedia Commons)

The Legend Of The Falls

Taylor might not have gained the celebrity that she wished, however she did encourage a small variety of copycats to observe in her footsteps. Over the course of the following 100 years, 15 people went over Niagara Falls, and a few of them obtained fairly inventive with it, if misguidedly so. Bobby Leach rode inside a steel barrel, breaking his jaw and kneecaps throughout the journey however gaining a small quantity of notoriety for his hassle as the primary man to go over the falls, whereas “Smiling Jean” Lussier survived her journey over the falls in a big rubber ball in 1928. The final individual to go over the falls was Kirk Jones in 2003, who merely jumped like Sam Patch earlier than him. Jones survived the autumn with solely minor accidents, however he was fined $2,300 and banned from entering Canada for all times.

Tags: 1900s | firsts | Niagara Falls

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Jacob Shelton


Jacob Shelton is a Los Angeles based mostly author. For some purpose this was probably the most tough factor he’s written all day, and right here’s the kicker – his girlfriend wrote the humorous a part of that final sentence. As for the remainder of the bio? That’s pure Jacob, child. He’s obsessive about the methods through which singular, transgressive acts have formed the broader strokes of historical past, and he believes in alternate dimensions, which implies that he’s nice at a cocktail party. When he’s not writing about tradition, pop or in any other case, he’s including to his discovered {photograph} assortment and eavesdropping on strangers in public.

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