It’s been very windy in Niagara Falls this past few days and I’ve seen a number of people flying kites along the Niagara Parkway above the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. It made me think about what happened in 1847 when engineers were trying to think about how they could get a line across the Niagara River Gorge to begin construction of the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge. Remember there were no helicopters to complete the task.
The answer was to have a kite-flying contest to solve the problem. A $5.00 prize was offered to the first person who could successfully fly a light cord across the narrowest section of the river. It’s where the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge now stands. A boy by the name of Homan Walsh won the prize when he flew his kite from the American side to the Canadian side of the river. Gradually a heavier cord, then rope and finally a wire were pulled across the river and construction of the first bridge over Niagara began.