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Electric Power Plant at Niagara Falls, c. 1890

Drawing of Plan of Electric Power Plant
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_NiG1
 
Document Description
A drawing of a plan for an electric power plant powered by water diverted from the Niagara River at Niagara Falls, circa 1890.
 
Questions
What two countries does Niagara Falls border?
How many falls make up Niagara Falls?  Which falls appear in this diagram?
What affect does diverting water to power plants have on the falls? 
What elements in the diagram reflect industry at Niagara Falls?
What elements in the diagram reflect tourism at Niagara Falls?
 
Historical Challenges
Compare this diagram to photographs of Niagara Falls today. How has the area stayed the same? How has it changed?
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: What is a conduit? How is it used in the falls? How is electricity created from the water?
English Language Arts: Create a slogan for the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power & Manufacturing Company to persuade people to use its power.
 
Resources
Bauer, Marion Dane. Niagara Falls. New York: Aladdin, 2006. ISBN: 0689869452.
Berton, Pierre. Niagara: A History of the Falls. New York: Kodansha International, 1997. ISBN: 1568361548
Charles, Veronika Martenova. The Maiden of the Mist: A Legend of Niagara Falls. Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 2001. ISBN: 0773762078, 0773732977
Whitcraft, Melissa. The Niagara River. New York: Franklin Watts, 2001. ISBN: 0531119033
Vander Wilt, Dirk. Niagara Falls: A Guide for Tourists. New York: Parkscape Press, 2005. ISBN: 0976706415
 

Historical Context
In 1881, the Niagara Falls (New York) Hydraulic Power & Manufacturing Company produced the first electrical power for commercial use, using water from the Niagara River. Then in 1885, the first electric arc lights for street illumination replaced oil lamps in Niagara Falls, Canada, using electricity purchased from Niagara Falls, New York.  Today the falls is still producing a tremendous amount of electricity for surrounding areas.  Water is diverted from the river into conduits. The water is then returned to the river, passing through turbines that power thirteen generators, which is what makes electricity.
 
Essential Question
How does geography impact culture and economic systems?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the influence of this water source on New York's culture and economy.