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Whirlpool Rapids: 1900

Whirlpool Rapids: 1900

Circa 1900. "Whirlpool Rapids from Niagara Railway bridge, Niagara Falls, N.Y." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

Great Gorge Route

1895-1935; more a victim of the automobile & Great Depression than a rock slide.

Some Answers

Billy B: That house on the left is the bottom entrance to the elevator for the Whitewater Walkway (been there several times) on the Canadian side and also a gift shop for tourists. It's still there and was even seen in the movie "Superman 2".

Billy B & MrK: Those tracks were part of an excursion line that ran along the bottom of the gorge on the American side. The line ceased operation about 1918 after a couple of rock falls wrecked the tracks. It ran from Lewiston NY south to about where the Whirlpool bridge is now. There was a turnaround and the passengers would ride back to Lewiston. The tracks were ripped out during the Depression.

Postcard closeups

Two of the three postcards shown here:

might give a little more insight into track and trolleys.

Thanks for posting this picture. I haven't seen an overview of this trolley line before.

Around the Gorge

This link:
and others of downtown Buffalo include ads for the trolley car.
"Around the Gorge Summer Excursions 75 cents"
They did mean both sides of the Niagara River, the opposite side of the "Around" was on top of the other cliff, see the row of poles at upper left. Yes, it was an International streetcar line.


OK, I know it isn't a third rail, but what is on the outside rail (closest to the river), on the curve of the track the trolley is on? I see another set of this on the next curve behind the trolley too.

FYI, I am not referring to the guard rail inside the gauge.


Finding more rail oddities now. The repetition of unknown boxes back by the crossover and station, again on the river side, on the wooden catenary support poles is strange. Why so many?

edit #2:

John and all, thanks for the info on the name and location of the photos. With that I found:


This photo clearly shows that 'third rail' as another type of guard rail for the event of a riverside derailment, it would hopefully keep the trucks from veering any further into the gorge. No insulators seen supporting it and confirmation of trolley pole fed power.

Sight seeing from the city?

The train car appears to be a street car from local town on a sight seeing excursion? Is the covered shed for the switchman? I noticed a couple of cross over tracks there also.

What is

the purpose of the little house on the lower left? It looks like some kind of enclosed elevator system. Then the wooden walkway goes to another little house just around the bend.

Judging by the different color in the walkway a boulder (now sitting by the river's edge) has come crashing down.

(Later) Thanks to a Shorpy inspired afternoon, I find the walkway along the left bank is still there today. It looks like it may have been modified a couple of times. It's called the White Water Walkway. A tourist photo op in Niagra Park. I wonder if the building almost out of sight is a resturant or inn?

It looks like all the tracks are gone from the right bank.

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