Niagara Falls Stereo Cards

Bridges over the Gorge

Suspension Bridges

The first bridge spanning the Niagara Gorge was opened in 1848.   This suspension bridge was designed for carriages and pedestrians, but was rebuilt a few years later to accommodate railway traffic.  The bridge was re-designed to have two levels, the upper level for railway traffic and the lower level for pedestrians and carriages.  The new bridge was opened in 1855 and was known as the Whirlpool Suspension Bridge.   

Stephens Baker of Beverly, Massachusetts, travelled through Niagara Falls in 1848 and describes the new bridge in a travel journal.  He wrote that "the bridge over the Falls is substantially built, and all who will take the trouble to examine the manner in which it is secured on the banks, will not hesitate to cross it".  

With the success of the Whirlpool Suspension Bridge, many local businesses wanted another bridge to be built closer to the Falls.  Construction for this bridge began in 1867, with the official opening in 1869.  It was known as the Falls View Suspension Bridge.   

Glass stereo card of the Whirlpool rapids with a train crossing the Whirlpool Suspension Bridge above, ca. 1861

General view of the Falls, looking under the Falls View Suspension Bridge

The new Falls View Suspension Bridge and Tower

Steel Bridges

With the increasing use of electric railways, it became apparent that the suspension bridge was not adequate to support the increased weight and a new bridge would need to be built.  Construction of a new steel arch bridge was begun in the spring of 1897, and was opened to traffic in June 1897.   It consisted of one level and could accommodate electric trolleys, carriages, and pedestrians.  This bridge was known as the Falls View Bridge and Honeymoon Bridge.  It remained in operation until January, 1938, when it collapsed from the pressure of ice jams on the bridge's supporting abutments.  It was replaced with the Rainbow Bridge, which remains in use.

 

American Falls and steel arch bridge from Goat Island, 1902

Steel Arch Bridge