MAID OF THE MIST (BOAT COMPANY)
The first ferry service across the Niagara River, in the form of manually operated row boats, was established by William Forsyth in 1818. Until 1846, row boat ferry leases were granted to many different people, including Thomas Clark and Samuel Street, who built a cobblestone carriage road (part of which is still in use today) down the side of the gorge to the ferry landing in 1827. In 1846, the Niagara Falls Ferry Association received a charter from the State of New York, allowing it to operate a ferry across the Niagara River. In May of 1946, the first Maid of the Mist was launched, a clumsy steamship which ferried people between carriage roads on either side of the river. However, the traffic was not as heavy as the operators had anticipated and with the opening of a suspension bridge over the gorge at the Whirlpool Rapids in 1848 the ferry lost more business. As a result, the ferry began to make sight-seeing trips, taking tourists from a dock on the American side, up the river and close to the Horseshoe Falls. On July 14, 1854, a larger, more luxurious Maid of the Mist replaced the first boat. This Maid of the Mist, primarily intended for sightseeing, had a length of 72 feet, and a steam driven paddle-wheel. The passengers were all given coats and caps to protect them from the spray of the Falls as Captain Joel Robinson took them on an exhilarating trip to the base of the Horseshoe Falls. This Maid of the Mist was in operation for six years until its owner, W. O. Buchanan sold it to a Montreal Company. One of the conditions of the sale was that the boat be delivered to Lake Ontario, and so Captain Robinson became the first person to navigate a boat through the dangerous Whirlpool Rapids, on June 6, 1861.
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Maid of the Mist