I suspect many Niagara Falls residents are familiar with the current three towers that overlook Niagara Falls, The Skylon Tower, the original Minolta Tower (now the Tower Hotel) and the Oneida Tower part of Casino Niagara which has been for years closed to the public.
However, there were older towers found in Niagara Falls in the 1800’s. Following the War of 1812-14 it was popular to tour one of the major battles of this war that took place on Lundy’s Lane. In 1845 a 12 metre (40-foot-high) tower was built overlooking the battlefield site. Unfortunately, the wooden posts soon decayed and on a stormy winter night the tower collapsed.
In 1846, a second tower was built near the same site as the first tower. These 22 metres (80-foot) tower was much sturdier. People were charged 25 cents to ascends the tower. Tragically, fire on July 4th,1851 destroyed this tower.
A third tower appeared soon after. This tower was built on top of a two-storey red brick building and became known as the Durham Tower. This is where Fralick’s Tavern Historic Site consisting of the Battleground Hotel at 6151 Lundy’s Lane is now found. On a stormy night in 1870 this tower was destroyed.
In 1893, the final tower was to be built on Lundy’s Lane. It was the first all-steel tower in Canada. It was known as the Lundy’ Lane Observatory and had the first-ever elevator in Niagara Falls. It was not a financial success and was demolished in 1921.
Today, the Niagara Falls Museum at 5810 Ferry Street sits close to where these four towers once existed.
Thanks to Cathy Roy of the Niagara Falls Public Library for providing historic information for the writing of this blog.