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roll back. In this work, cur men are sometimes incased in a solid arınor of ice in a very few moments and much valuable time is consumed in thawing out for the next onslaught.
Owing to the long continued cold weather, and to the fact that the prevailing winds drove the spray up over the brink of the American Fall, during January and February last, an enormous quantity of frozen spray accumulated upon Prospect Point and the trees in that vicinity. During the night of February 16th, about fifteen feet of spray-ice formed on Prospect Point. This was added to day after day until there were twenty-six feet of ice at that point, and it was possible to walk from the Incline Railway building up the hill of ice, and out fully fifty feet beyond the guard railing at Prospect Point. For the safety of the public, a temporary fence was erected upon the top of the ice mound, danger signs placed and guards stationed there constantly to keep the inquisitive visitors from venturing too far.
This mass of ice, settling as it grew, crushed the iron guard railing as though it were made of light wood. The same conditions prevailed at Luna Island and at the foot of the Incline
Railway, so that in all about 250 feet of the railings were damaged.
This mound of ice, in addition to gradually forcing its way out over the upper river and face of the American Fall, overhung the face of the cliff at Prospect Point, much as snow will sometimes overhang the roof of a building. Realizing that this overhanging portion must eventually fall into the gorge below, and fearing that it might carry with it some person or persons unaware of the danger and absorbed in contemplating the scenery, it was deemed wise to keep a path open inside of the railing at Prospect Point. Although four and sometimes six men (as many as could work to advantage), were thus employed almost constantly, it was impossible to do so until the wind changed. Many charges of dynamite were exploded in the ice mound outside of the railing, in hopes that the water would carry the mass over the Falls.
But on account of the peculiar character of the ice, it being so
highly charged with air, it resisted every attack.
In addition to keeping the paths open, it is necessary to keep the roads in a passable condition. At Prospect Point and at the Horseshoe Fall on Goat Island, it is necessary to cut roads wide enough for the passage of sleighs and carriages, through from one to five feet of this frozen spray. One can readily see from the above that the cost of maintenance is extremely high even in the winter time when the casual observer might suppose that
little if any work is being done.
While the conditions outlined above were more difficult to
overcome last winter than usual, the same thing occurs on a
lesser scale each winter.
A very curious result of the peculiar formations last winter, was that long after the grass had become green and the trees had leaved out in other sections, the mass of ice remained at Prospect
Point, the last disappearing May 27th after having been loosened
up by men with picks and shovels, that the grass might not be smothered.
Removal of Cribs from Upper River.
When the new stone arched bridges were constructed, connecting Goat Island with the main land, many cribs used in the coffer-dams were carried partly down toward the fall and lodged upon the reefs, where they remained, blots upon the scenery. Advantage was taken of the river being practically frozen to tear these cribs apart, that they might float away with the ice in the spring.
As soon as possible in the spring, the iron guard railings at Prospect Point, Luna Island and at the foot of the Inclined Railway were repaired, where repairs were possible, and new railings erected where the destruction had been complete. In all, ninetysix feet of new railing was constructed.
During the year the Biddle Stairway has been in use as heretofore. This structure was built in 1829. The original timber around which the stairway winds, as well as many if not all of the original risers are still in use. It appears to be in good condition, but should be replaced with an elevator of sufficient capacity to accommodate all who desire to descend to the Cave of the Winds or debris slope. Comparatively few of the millions of visitors to Niagara are privileged to visit this one of the most magnificent view points upon the Reservation. This loss to the public cannot be prevented while present conditions exist. Were an elevator placed at this point and a nominal fee of five cents each way charged, it is reasonable to suppose that as many people would patronize it as now use the Inclined Railway; greatly augmenting the receipts of the Reservation and possibly making it self sustaining
New Cable, Etc.
As is usual each year, a new cable has been attached to the Inclined Railway cars. All park seats, tables, etc., have been repaired and repainted, and all tools put in as good condition as possible.
The old wooden steps at the west end of the upper Inclined Railway building have been removed and the ground raised about twenty inches, doing away with the necessity of having steps and forming a natural slope which will take care of all surface water.
Walks and Roads.
The walks from the northern end of the Reservation, near the Steel Arch bridge to Prospect Point, and thence to the new Stone Arched bridge, have been surfaced with about six inches of good
gravel. The walks about the Administration building have been rearranged, and the driveways about the Reservation put in as good condition as possible with gravel; but in order to place the roads in proper condition, an appropriation of sufficient amount
should be secured to rebuild them.
Walks on Riverway.
New granitoid walks have been constructed upon the eastern side of the riverway, from Niagara street to the Cascade House, the expense being borne by the owners of the adjacent property. There now remains but one section of about sixty feet, where there is no walk upon that side of the street. The owner of the abutting property has promised to build a similar walk this fall.
Riprapping River Banks.
During the early spring, while the heavy ice was running, the
banks of the river on the south ends of each of the new Stone
Arched bridges, were badly washed away. The damage has been repaired by riprapping with heavy stone and filling with coarse gravel.
Furnace and Steam Pipes.
The furnace in the basement of the Administration building, as
well as all steam pipes, have been incased in heavy asbestos covering, making it much more economical to keep the building: properly heated.
The structure covering the Inclined Railway from the face of the cliff to the terminal station below, is in a very bad state of preservation, and should be rebuilt. From 150,000 to 200,000 persons annually descend to the lower river, via the Inclined Railway and stairway, and every precaution should be taken to insure safety. The State Architect estimates that a new wooden structure could be built for $5,500.
With a part of the funds provided by chapter 599 of the Laws of 1893, a new ticket office has been erected in the northeastern corner, and a check or parcel room in the southwestern corner of the waiting room of the Inclined Railway. This was made necessary on account of the changes in the building, the old office
where tickets were sold and parcels checked having been trans
formed into toilet rooms.
With the same funds seven lockers