September 2, 2014

Niagara Falls Dried Up

Astonishing New Photos Have Surfaced of a Time when the World Famous Niagara Falls Went Dry

February 10, 2011 — UPDATE…

A previously unseen set of photos of a time when the world famous Niagara Falls stopped flowing have recently gained public attention. 41 years after their taking, the photos here show a barren, dry version of the mighty Niagara Falls. (Scroll to the bottom for video.)

Photo of 1969 Niagara Falls Dried Up by Russ Glasson

It’s hard to imagine, but in June 1969 the Army Corp of Engineers diverted the flow of the Niagara River away from the American side of the falls. This diversion lasted for several months, while engineers worked to repair foundation issues and clear rock from the bottom of the Falls.

Niagara Falls went Dry by Russ Glasson

The Army Corp of Engineers’ initial plan was to remove a large amount of the loose rock from the base of the waterfall. Eventually, however, the plan was abandoned in November 1969 due to expense. They then switched to another plan. To fix faults discovered while the riverbed was dry and to delay the gradual erosion of the American Falls, the Army Corp of Engineers mechanically bolted and strengthened numerous areas of the riverbed.

Niagara Falls Stops Flowing

Niagara Falls Dried Up 4 by Russ Glasson

After fixing the faults, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers blew up their temporary dam in November 1969. Six million cubic feet of water once again began thundering over both the American and Canadian Falls’ sides every minute.

Now, after lying unseen for more than four decades, a set of images showing the eerie calm at the American Falls that year have been unearthed by a man from Connecticut.

Dry Niagara Falls Getting Repairs by Army Corp of Engineers

Russ Glasson recently stumbled across these photos. They were taken by his in-laws and had been left in an old shoebox in their garage for over four decades. Mr Glasson said: ‘My in-laws took these pictures during the six months through June to November that the Army was working to improve the health of the American Falls.’

Foundation Repairs Niagara Falls Army Corp of Engineer

Two rock slides from the plate of the falls in 1931 and 1954 had caused a large amount of rock to be collected at the base. In 1965, reporters at local newspaper Niagara Falls Gazette revealed that the America Falls would eventually cease to flow and stop altogether if the rocks were not removed.

Four years later, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers were tasked with stopping the flow of the falls to clean the river bed and to remove any loose rock at the bottom of the falls.

Niagara Falls Dried Up 7 photo by Russ Glasson

Niagara Falls as it looks today

Niagara Falls as it Looks Today

UPDATE: Feb 10, 2011
After speaking with Mr. Glasson, Russ told us that the press had somewhat glamorized this story. Here is what he told us today…
“I was in the process of digitizing all of my old 35mm slides. Upon completion of my project my brother-in-law told me he was in possession of thousands of slides his father had taken and asked if I would digitize those in order to preserve them since they were starting to deteriorate due to age, moisture, etc.”

No matter how he actually came across these photos, they are fantastic and a real treasure! So, thank you, Russ, for sharing these fantastic photos with the world!

All photos copyright Russ Glasson. Please visit Russ’s Flickr site to see more photos from this series and his photography projects…
Flickr RBGlasson
Russ’s Blog

 

2 comments

  1. The last picture is not of Niagara falls, which is on the US side, it’s a picture of Horseshoe falls which is on the Canadian side.

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