Welcome to My Hometown

Ah yes, this is lovely Niagara Falls, New York. The beautiful rapids and thundering waters are out of this world. People come from all over to gaze at its mighty power and feel its misty spray.

Some of the nicest and kindhearted people I know live in this mainly blue-collar city. A once hustling bustling city, poised to become the epicenter of electrical power and industry at the turn of the 20th century. Unfortunately things literally came crashing down on June 7, 1956 when the Schoellkopf Power Plant plummeted into the gorge.

Things got worse in the 1960’s when the hope of Urban Renewal was proposed. Some delapidated buildings along with some beautiful ones were torn down. Unfortunately the Urban Renewal budget was cut by the Nixon administration and due to the city council’s foot dragging and poor planning, the city lost its Urban Renewal budget. Some structures were later built with disastrous results.

Little Known Attractions

While graft and corruption have plagued this city for many years, the following developments stand as a testimonial to monumental lunacy. Here are some of the lesser-known attractions of Niagara Falls, NY that you may know little about.

Love Canal (805 97th Street)

This little attraction was started in the early 1890s by one William T. Love, as a canal to power his Model City. Love ran out of funds and the canal was abandoned (some things never change). It was turned over to the Hooker Chemical Company and used as a chemical waste dump in the 1940’s. After it was filled with tons of carcinogens in steel drums and sealed, it was sold to the city of Niagara Falls in the 1950’s for a dollar. Greed set in and developers broke the seal, built a school and other residential housing. It didn’t obtain its national attraction status until the mid-1970’s when ooze came bubbling to the surface and other birth defects came to the fore. Residents had to be evacuated, homes were torn down, lawsuits were filed, and the EPA Superfund was born. It has since been resealed and is currently monitored by Miller Springs Remediation Management Incorporated.

For more information on Love Canal click here.

The Native American Centre for the Living Arts aka: The Turtle (25 Rainbow Center)

This uniquely shaped attraction sits atop prime tourist real estate. It was called “The Indian’s Revenge” by some. Designed to showcase Native American art and culture, this attraction slowed to a crawl rapidly after much mismanagement.

Niagara Splash Water Park (700 Rainbow Boulevard)

Wanna go sliding down a chute of frozen ice in Western New York in the winter? Not many did either. Opening in May 1998, unpaid taxes and water bills dried up this attraction in 1991. Oddly, it reopened in July 2005. It was officially purchased on July 13, 2006 for other development by the Seneca Niagara Casino. A Seneca Conference Hotel is planned for 2010.

Copyright 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 David Burnham

Falls Street Station (333 Rainbow Boulevard) and Falls Street Faire (237 Rainbow Boulevard)

These atrocities were designed to recreate the heyday of Falls Street inside a mall. The Falls Street Station once housed an overcrowded discothèque that was in serious violation of the city's maximum capacity code. Other planned shops never opened. The structure later closed and is now occupied by TeleTech.

The Falls Street Faire was supposed to contain a movie theater and other assorted venues, but never opened. It was developed in 2004 and now houses "The Conference Center Niagara Falls".

Aqua Falls (360 Rainbow Boulevard South)

One wonders who was paid off in this deal. The city already has an Aquarium, but someone decided we needed this attraction. It was excavated in 1999 with a planned opening for the summer of 2000. Strangely, funds ran dry. It remained a muddy hole in the heart of the tourist center until it was filled in mid-April 2006. It is currently a parking lot for a welcome center.