23 October 2005

This Day In History

1901 First barrel ride down Niagara Falls

Daredevil Annie Edson Taylor initiates a famous stunt tradition when she goes over Niagara Falls in a wooden barrel. Taylor, who performed the feat on her birthday, went over the 175-foot-tall Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of Niagara inside a barrel five feet high and three feet in diameter. A leather harness and cushions lined the barrel to protect Taylor during her fall, and she emerged shaken but unhurt in the river below.

Taylor hoped that after the stunt she could make a fortune touring the world, displaying the famous barrel and relating the adventure. Although the stunt did receive international attention, Taylor reaped few financial rewards and died in poverty after 20 years as a Niagara street vendor.

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