I just spent a weekend at Niagara Falls with my daughters. There is so much history to this area and I was constantly reminded of Cathy Marie Buchanan's book "The Day The Falls Stood Still". It was interesting to observe the changes in 100 years.
This novel begins in 1915 with two serious themes- daredevils and hydroelectric power.
I was very interested in reading about Bess Heath, who was based on a real person. She grew up in wealth and the book really describes that lifestyle beautifully. I loved the dressmaking scenes.
However, her father lost his job, began drinking and the family was disgraced. Her sister had been engaged, but that was broken off and she jumped into the river.
Bess ended up marrying Tom, whose grandfather had been very famous helping with rescues around the falls. Tom also took on that role and disaster followed.
I was reminded of stories about "Red Hill" who was born in 1888, also a 'river man' whose two sons attempted going over the falls- only one was successful.
On a visit to the Imax theatre, we were intrigued by the story of Annie Edson Taylor- the first person to go over the falls in a barrel. Born in Auburn, New York, she trained to be a teacher. After her husband died in the Civil War, and her son also died, she travelled around the U.S. trying to survive. In 1901, at age 63, she heard about Niagara Falls and decided that she could become rich and famous by going over the falls in a barrel. She survived this feat and became mildly famous but definitely not rich, and died ten years later in poverty. She is buried in the "Stunter's" Section of the cemetery in Niagara Falls.