Tag Archives: niagara river

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fontana Boathouse

Buffalo, New York


Fontana Boathouse exterior

In 1905, University of Wisconsin oarsman & Wright family friend, Cudworth Bye, asked Frank Lloyd Wright to design a new boathouse for the Badger crew team on the Yahara River. FLW quickly agreed, and the boathouse was designed, but never built. It was briefly given new life in Wright’s Wasmuth Profile, which was a catalog of work FLW considered his best. Unfortunately, the design was filed away once again.

It wasn’t until several decades later, that a Buffalo, NY group came across the design, and purchased the rights. In 2007, the boathouse Frank Lloyd Wright designed a century earlier opened on the bank of the Niagara River.


The Canisius side of the boathouse

The Fontana Boathouse is home to the West Side Rowing Club. Luckily, for the Frozen Foursome, it is also home to Canisius College Crew. We were checking out the boathouse exterior, when we met Kerri Brace, the head coach of the Canisius Rowing program. She was incredibly kind, and offered us a brief tour of the inside of the boathouse.

The boathouse was dedicated as The Charlie and Marie Fontana Boathouse, in honor of the long time rower and coach at the West Side Rowing Club, and his wife.

Post script: The Golden Griffins rowing team finished sixth at the MAAC Championship, in Coach Kerri Brace’s second year at the helm. Junior Co-captain Emma Vicaretti was named to the All-MAAC first team, and senior Bridget Lillis earned All-MAAC second team honors. Eight members of the team were named to the MAAC All-Academic Team.

Go Griffs



Devil’s Hole Stairway


Rainbow Bridge


Side Track


Niagara Falls State Park


Welcome to Goat Island

Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in the U.S.. The 400 plus acre park was established in 1885. I spent an entire afternoon exploring its trails and taking in the sights and sounds of The Falls.


Niagara Falls from the American side

Compared with last autumn, when I was on the other bank with the Curator & Brazil Lucas, the crowds this week were at a minimum. From the looks of things, May 1 is the date that things open up. The lower trails were still closed off, and few, if any attractions/facilities were open.


Statue dedicated to Nikola Tesla

In 1896, Nikola Tesla sent AC power, generated at The Falls, to Buffalo for the first time, proving to the world that it could be done. Previously, the DC power generated at The Falls could only be transmitted 100 yards.


Canadian Goose enjoying lunch at The Falls

It was a beautiful day to be out walking the trails. There is a trolley that runs through the park. You can get on and off as many times as you need during a day for $3. Not a bad price when you consider that a horse drawn carriage ride around The Falls in 1895 cost $1/hour.


Waterfall leading up to Three Sisters Islands

There is a pedestrian bridge and a vehicle bridge over to Goat Island. There are actually several islands at this end of the park, with foot bridges connecting them all. Some nice views of both sides of The Falls can be had from the island, with the Niagara River surrounding you.


Niagara from Goat Island

Four of the five Great Lakes drain into the Niagara River, before it flows into Lake Ontario. 75,750 gallons of water a second goes over American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls, and another 681,750 gallons per second over Horseshoe Falls.

It will take 50,000 years, due to erosion, for Niagara Falls to cease to exist.


Niagara River Gorge


Niagara River Gorge

I finally broke free, stretched my legs a bit, and ventured out to the lower Niagara River Gorge. After brew pubs, and Ted’s Hot Dogs, I needed to wear off some calories.


The Whirlpool on the Niagara River

I stopped by Devil’s Hole State Park, which historically, was an important portage around The Falls & rapids of the Niagara River. A 6.4 mile trail loops between Devil’s Hole and Whirlpool State Park. The trail runs the rim of the gorge, overlooking the river, but another route runs along the river’s bank. I did the two trails in a loop. To get to the trail along the riverbank, one has to venture down a series of rock stairs. I’m not sure when they were built, but the park was formed in 1924, and they look original to the park. Not that I’m complaining, the more rustic the better, in my opinion.

At any given time, only 25-50% of the water that should be flowing through the gorge and over the falls, actually does so. The rest is syphoned off for hydroelectric power. The romantic in me would love to see The Falls and The Gorge with full power. Just for a day. Or two…