1848: Niagara Falls Stopped

On March 30, 1848, the roar of Niagara Falls went silent as the river ran dry. No one knew what happened to the water. Factories shut down for lack or power, fish died, and everyone freaked out.
Thousands of people filled the churches to attend special services. They prayed for the falls to start flowing and the world to continue, or for salvation and forgiveness of their sins as the Last Judgment approached.

No one knew why the falls had stopped. The telegraph was still a new invention. Railroads served towns on both sides of the river, but the tracks were unreliable, and Buffalo — the nearest big city — was three hours away even when the trains ran on schedule.

But it was from Buffalo that word eventually arrived that explained the bare falls and dry riverbed. A strong southwest gale winds had pushed a huge chunks of lake ice to the extreme northeastern tip of Lake Erie, blocking the lake’s outlet into the head of the Niagara River. The ice jam had become an ice dam.

On the evening of March 31st, a great wall of water flowed down the riverbed and things were back to normal. Link

Newest 3
Newest 3 Comments

Login to comment.

Email This Post to a Friend
"1848: Niagara Falls Stopped"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More