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The Truth Behind The Time Niagara Falls Ran Dry

Imagine visiting Niagara Falls and instead of hearing tons of water rushing over the edge, all you heard was silence. That would be enough to run a chill down my spine, for sure.

This unmistakable sound of 85,000 cubic feet of water crashing down to the rocky base, is enough to take your breath away. But from June-November of 1969, the falls ran silent.

Russ Glasson, a man from Connecticut unearthed theses photos that had been taken by his in-laws, and stored in an old shoe-box in their garage.

Russ told Daily Mail UK, "My in-laws took these pictures during the six months through June to November that the Army was working to improve the health of the American Falls."

Russ Glasson

In June 1969, U.S. engineers diverted the flow of the Niagara River away from the American side of the falls for several months so that repairs could be made. To achieve this, the army built a 600 foot dam across the Niagara River, to divert the water flow. After 27,800 tons of rock was placed, on June 12, 1969, after flowing continuously for 12,000 years, the American Falls stopped.  Most of the 60,000 gallons of water that was typically sent over the American falls was diverted to the Horseshoe falls or over to the Robert Moses generating plant's upriver intakes.

Russ Glasson

The original plan was to remove a large amount of the loose rock from the base of the waterfall, that was collected from 2 rock slides in 1931 and 1954, but that idea had to be abandoned when mounting expenses prevented them from completing the project.

Russ Glasson

Instead they studied the riverbed and mechanically reinforced a number of faults to delay the gradual erosion of the Falls.

Russ Glasson

After geological testing was complete and the falls were deemed safe, they water was permitted to flow again on November 25 in front of 2,650 onlookers.

Decades later, it may become necessary to undertake this again to repair 2 commuter bridges that connect the town of Niagara and the state park islands.

The bridges to Goat Island were built in 1901 and underwent extensive repairs in 2004. New York State Parks spokesman Randy Simons said the plan was to find a permanent fix. The proposal the park is recommending involves concrete archways that mimic the original bridges

“The historian in me is excited to witness this,” says Michelle Kratts, a former Niagara Falls historian, who wasn’t yet born when Niagara’s American water was diverted the first time round, in June 1969, for nearly five months.

Draining the falls, is said to potentially become a tourist attraction in and of itself but it still is in the planning phase waiting for funding.

As someone who visited Niagara Falls a lot as a kid, this would definitely be a sight to see.

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