A view of the Hurricane Deck at the Cave of the Winds Boardwalk
Cave of the Winds
The original "Cave of the Winds" was a cavern located behind the Bridal Veil Falls. The cave was an overhanging ledge of Lockport Dolostone rock at the top portion of the gorge which originally protruded more than 100 feet over which flowed the waters of the Bridal Veil Falls. The outcropping (or overhang) of rock created a cavern behind the sheet of falling water of the Bridal Veil Falls. This cavern became known as the world famous "Cave of the Winds".
In 1901, this cavern originally measured approximately 130 feet high, 100 feet wide and 100 feet in depth. by 1955, the depth of this cavern, because of rock falls had been reduced to approximately 30 feet.
This cavern was originally discovered by Joseph W. Ingraham. Mr. Ingraham had spotted the cave from above the gorge.The first two persons to walk behind the Bridal Veil Falls into this cavern were Barry Hill White and George Sims. They named it "Aeolus' Cave" after the Greek God of the Winds.
Mr. Ingraham who along with many others did not like the original name, renamed the cavern "Cave of the Winds".
winter view of the Cave of the Winds Boardwalk
Until the Biddle Staircase was opened in 1829, the only access into the gorge was by ladder or use of a rope. By 1879, the Cave of the Winds had become so popular, the Porter brothers began charging tourists $1 per person to visit the cavern. During the early 1900's there was a pathway that tourists could take to the cave which was located behind the Falls. It was quite the popular spot.
On September 6th 1920, at approximately 1:30 p.m., a sudden rock fall from the ceiling at the Cave of the Winds killed three people and injured a number of other persons.
In 1925, elevators were installed to quickly transport tourists to the bottom to the cave of the Winds. The Cave of the Winds which had always been a popular destination became a major attraction at Niagara Falls.
During the afternoon of Sunday August 2nd 1857, a rock fall occurred near the cave of the Winds, falling onto a group of tourists at the base of the gorge. George Parsons of Cleveland, Ohio sustained a fractured skull and hip. Mr. F. Williams of Connecticut sustained a fractured arm and the son of Mr. Joseph Haney of Niagara Falls, New York sustained a fractured leg.
Unfortunately what the forces of nature had created over thousands of years was also responsible for its demise through water erosion. Major rock falls at Prospect Point and Terrapin Point had highlighted the danger of loose and overhanging rock along the face of the gorge wall. It was determined by engineers that the entrance to the cave had become too dangerous for tourists. The overhanging ledge of Dolostone which had protected tourists entering the Cave of the Winds from the water of the Falls was in serious danger of collapsing. As a result, the original Cave of the Winds was destroyed by a controlled dynamite blast in 1955.
A view of the Cave of the Winds Boardwalk
Today the Cave of the Winds exists in name only. The new Cave of the Winds attraction is located on Goat Island within Niagara Reservation State Park in Niagara Falls, New York. A guide will lead tourists on an exhilarating adventure to the base of the Niagara Gorge and over a series of wooden decks below the Bridal Veil/Luna Falls coming within twenty five (25) feet from the Falls. Stand on the hurricane deck nearest the Bridal Veil/Luna Falls and feel the forces of nature as the winds and water of the mighty cataracts combine. Raincoats are issued but be prepared to be soaked by the thundering cataracts. A must for the serious tourist. Open Seasonal.
Date last updated:
February 20, 2012
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