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Extraordinary Pictures Show Niagara Falls When It Was Run Dry In 1969

Niagara Falls, the name for a trio of waterfalls – Horseshoe Falls, American Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls – which dominate the Canada/US border, is recognized by many as one the great natural sights of the world, bringing tourists from all over every year.

It’s often prone to freezing in the colder Ontario/New York winters, but we wouldn’t ever imagine it drying up. It seems almost impossible.

For a few months in 1969, though, the falls were reduced to mere trickles.

What distinguishes the American Falls is the huge rock pile at its base, the result of years of rockslides. Back in the 1960s, concern grew that such activity would erode the falls altogether, ending in an American-Canadian commission to de-water them for a total of five months.

Workers achieved this by employing over 1,200 trucks to dump 28,000 tons of rock into a cofferdam upstream, directing the flow of the river to Horseshoe Falls instead. This provided leeway for investigation. Upon searching, the US Army Corps of Engineers found two corpses – a low number considering the spot’s notoriety when it comes to suicide.

It wasn’t just the engineers who scaled the surface. Some locals and tourists also trespassed onto the riverbed to collect coins that’d been tossed into the water years before.

Over the course of the five months, engineers managed to install steel bolts and cables in order to monitor and stabilize the rocks surrounding Luna Island and Bridal Veil Falls. Then the water returned.

What would the falls unearth if they were drained again?

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