March 17, 2014
The Days Niagara Ran Dry
I live about five kilometres from the falls and when the wind is right I can hear the roar of the falls. After a while, it becomes like, “White Noise”. Not to hear it would be unusual. Well that was the case in 1848.
It was near midnight of March 29th that Niagara stopped to flow for two days. There was an eerie silence and Niagara residents realized something was abnormal. Some thought it was the end of the world.
Many flocked to Niagara churches.
It wasn’t the end of the world and it was soon learned that the reason Niagara had run dry and the Niagara River reduced to a mere trickle was heavy ice ( as we have today) had created a dam blocking water from flowing from Lake Erie down the Niagara River.
For two days locals scurried onto the upper river bed and retrieved items that had been under the river for years. Such things like bayonets, muskets, barrels, canons and tomahawks from the War of 1812 were gathered up. Even a few human skeletons stuck on rocks were retrieved!
Only when the wind shifted about 40 hours later did the ice dam finally break up and the river once more began to flow. People returned to their regular routine and the eerie unnatural scene was no longer.
Because photography was in its infancy there are no known photographs of this event.
We can only see it in our mind’s eye.
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