Place:Niagara Falls, Niagara, New York, United States

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NameNiagara Falls
Alt namesFort Schlossersource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) VIII, 672
Manchestersource: Encyclopædia Britannica (1988) VIII, 672
Suspension Bridgesource: Family History Library Catalog
TypeCity
Coordinates43.094°N 79.017°W
Located inNiagara, New York, United States     (1600 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Niagara Falls is a city in Niagara County, New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 50,193, down from the 55,593 recorded in the 2000 census. It is adjacent to the Niagara River, across from the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, and named after the famed Niagara Falls which they share. The city is within the Buffalo–Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Western New York region.

While the city was formerly occupied by Native Americans, Europeans who migrated to the Niagara Falls in the mid-17th century began to open businesses and develop infrastructure. Later in the 18th and 19th centuries, scientists and businessmen began harnessing the power of the Niagara River for electricity and the city began to attract manufacturers and other businesses drawn by the promise of inexpensive hydroelectric power. After the 1960s, however, the city and region witnessed an economic decline, following an attempt at urban renewal under then Mayor Lackey. Consistent with the rest of the Rust Belt as industries left the city, old line affluent families relocated to nearby suburbs and out of town.

Despite the decline in heavy industry, Niagara Falls State Park and the downtown area closest to the falls continue to thrive as a result of tourism. The population, however, has continued to decline from a peak of 102,394 in the 1960s due to the loss of manufacturing jobs in the area.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Before Europeans entered the area, it was dominated by the Neutral Nation of Native Americans. European migration into the area began in the 17th century. The first recorded European to visit the area was Frenchman Robert de la Salle, accompanied by Belgian priest Louis Hennepin, who was the first known European to see the falls. The influx of newcomers may have been a catalyst for already hostile native tribes to turn to open warfare in competition for the fur trade.

The City of Niagara Falls was incorporated on March 17, 1892 from the villages of Manchester and Suspension Bridge, which were parts of the Town of Niagara. Thomas Vincent Welch, a member of the charter committee and a New York state assemblyman and a second-generation Irishman, persuaded Governor Roswell P. Flower to sign the bill on St. Patrick's Day. George W. Wright was elected the first mayor of Niagara Falls.

By the end of the 19th century, the city was a heavy industrial area, due in part to the power potential offered by the Niagara River. Tourism was considered a secondary niche, while manufacturing of petrochemicals, abrasives, metallurgical products and other materials was the main producer of jobs and attracted a large number of workers, many of whom were immigrants.

In 1927, the city annexed the village of La Salle from the Town of Niagara. The village was named for the French explorer Robert de la Salle., who built his ship, the Griffon, on the shores of the Niagara River five miles east.

Industry and tourism grew steadily throughout the first half of the 20th century due to a high demand for industrial products and the increased mobility of people to travel. Paper, rubber, plastics, petrochemicals, carbon insulators and abrasives were among the city's major industries. This prosperity would end by the late 1960s as aging industrial plants moved to less expensive locations. In addition, the falls were incompatible with modern shipping technology.

In 1956, the Schoellkopf Power Plant on the lower river just downstream of the American Falls was critically damaged due to a massive collapse of the Niagara Gorge wall above it. This prompted the planning and construction of one of the largest hydroelectric plants to be built in North America at the time, causing a large influx of workers and families to move to the area. New York City urban planner Robert Moses built the new power plant in nearby Lewiston, New York. Much of the power generated there fuels growing demands for power in downstate New York and New York City.

The neighborhood of Love Canal gained national media attention in 1978 when toxic contamination from a chemical waste landfill beneath it forced United States President Jimmy Carter to declare a state of emergency, the first such presidential declaration made for a non-natural disaster. Hundreds of residents were evacuated from the area, many of whom were ill because of exposure to chemical waste.

After the Love Canal disaster, the city witnessed a reversal of fortunes, as the costs of producing materials elsewhere became lower than in Niagara Falls. Several factories closed, the population dropped by half, and workers fled the city in search of jobs elsewhere. Much like the nearby city of Buffalo, the city's economy plummeted downward when a failed urban renewal project took place resulting in the destruction of Falls Street and the tourist district.

In 2001, the leadership of Laborers Local 91 was found guilty of extortion, racketeering and other crimes following an exposé by Mike Hudson of the Niagara Falls Reporter. Union boss Michael "Butch" Quarcini died before trial, while the rest of the union leadership was sentenced to prison.

In early 2010, former Niagara Falls Mayor Vincent Anello was indicted on federal charges of corruption, alleging the mayor accepted $40,000 in loans from a businessman who was later awarded a no-bid lease on city property. The charges were dropped as part of a plea deal after Anello plead guilty to unrelated charges of pension fraud, regarding a pension from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, of which he is a member. He was sentenced to 10 to 16 months in prison.

The city's decline was given national exposure by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2010.

On November 30, 2010, the New York State Attorney General entered into an agreement with the city and its police department to create new policies to govern police practices in response to claims of excessive force and police misconduct. The city will create policies and procedures to prevent and respond to allegations of excessive force, and to ensure police are properly trained and complaints are properly investigated. Prior claims filed by residents will be evaluated by an independent panel.

The city has a number of properties on the National Register of Historic Places. It also has three national historic districts, including Chilton Avenue-Orchard Parkway Historic District, Deveaux School Historic District and the Park Place Historic District.

Research Tips

External Links

  • Outstanding guide to Niagara Falls family history and genealogy resources (FamilySearch Research Wiki). Birth, marriage, and death records, town histories, cemeteries, churches, newspapers, libraries, and genealogical societies.


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