The following description of Stamford Township and its villages is quoted from the Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Lincoln and Welland, Ont. Toronto: H.R. Page & Co., 1876.
The Township of Stamford was first settled in 1784, by members of Col. John Butler’s Rangers, also by other U. E. Loyalists, and was formerly called Mount Dorchester, or township number two, on account of it being the second township surveyed, the first being the township of Niagara. The soil of this township is well adapted to raise most of the crops usually raised throughout Ontario, and consists mostly of a loamy nature; hardwood predominates, consisting of beech, maple and oak, with a little pine. This township bordering upon the Niagara River, where the falls take place, and where two magnificent suspension bridges—the admiration and wonder of all—suspend the river, the grand and beautiful scenery which may be seen in this vicinity has been the means of bringing many people of wealth to reside in the township, especially so in and around Clinton. The township has many fine public schools, and the different church societies have in most instances fine edifices, to worship in. The township contains about twenty-three thousand one hundred and thirty-two acres.
The first known white man to look upon the Falls of Niagara was Hennepin, a French Jesuit, who on his way westward in 1689, was guided to the Falls by the Indians, and in an account of Father Hennepin’s travels which was published in London, in 1698, the following description was given of the Falls which although not near as high as was stated by him, and in error in other respectes, is of interest as the first written account we have of the great Falls, from an eye witness. He says,
“Betwixt the Lake Ontario and the Lake Erie there is a vast and prodigious cadence of water, which falls down after a surprising and astonishing manner, insomuch that the universe does not afford its parallel. This wonderful downfall is about six hundred feet and composed of two great cross streams of water, and two falls, with an island sloping across the middle of it. The waters which fall from this horrible precipice do foam and boil after the most hideous manner imaginable, making an outrageous noise, more terrible than that of thunder, for when the wind blows out of the south, their dismal roaring may be heard more than fifteen leagues off. The Niagara River, at the foot of the Falls, is a quarter of a league broad.”
Grand indeed must have been the scene, with the flood of waters pouring deep down among the great rocks, with stately evergreen pines and hemlocks, towering on high from either bank and the most, bridged by its guardians of beautiful rainbows, rising to the clouds accompanied by the roar of the waters.
When first looked upon by white men the Indians made annual visits to the Falls, which they had most appropriately named O-ni-aw-ga-rah, signifying the thunder of waters; here they brought offerings, as their forefathers had done before them, and casting them into to mighty cauldron of whirling and leaping waters below, asked the spirit, whom they believed dwelled into the Falls, to guide them successfully in the chase after the wild animals of the forest, or to give them the victory over their enemies of other tribes.
Geologists tell us that the Falls were once at Queenston, and almost thirty thousand years since they commenced to creep their way back to Lake Erie, and today have reached their present position. The surface of the rock which is now being quarried at Queenston, for the New Welland Canal, is worn and polished, and gives abundant evidence that at some remote age a great volume of water poured over the mountain ridge at that place. It is certain that changes readily noticed in particular parts of the Falls take place every year, and the “horse shoe fall” has materially changed its appearance within the past few years. The frosts of winter cause huge blocks of stone to break away from around the falls, and this with the continual wearing of the heavy sheet of water, is gradually carrying the falls back to Lake Erie. A high cliff of rock which formerly jutted out near the edge of the fall on the Canadian side, was called “Table Rock,” a portion of which fell in 1818, and nearly all that remained in 1850. In 1828, the horse shoe in form, was greatly changed in appearance by a large mass of rock falling from the centre. Year after year the changeds occur which will in time no doubt alter the appearance of the Falls almost entirely from what they are at present time.
The new suspension bridge, which was completed in 1868, and the nearest to the Falls, is not designed for railway traffic, but serves as a foot and carriage bridge. The bridge is 1,240 feet in length, and towers of massive stone work on either side are 100 feet high, and support the cables, which are composed of 931 wires, and which unified are supposed to be equal to 1680 tons. The cables are still strengthened by wire stays from each side, which gives the bridge an additional strength of 1,320 tons, and it has been estimated that upwards of 3000 persons could be upon the bridge at once without affecting its supporting capacity.
The lower suspension bridge, which is used for railway traffic as well as for foot and carriage travellers, was commenced by a stock company in 1855; it is supported by immense wire cables, and its own weight is 800 tons, and is supposed to bear 12,500 tons. Both the suspension bridges are great points of attraction with sight seers, and these, with the Falls, Barnett’s Museum, the Whirlpool, battle field of Lundy’s Lane, and other places, always prove and endless source of interest to visitors, but the great Falls with their immense fall of water of about one hundred and sixty feet, will for all time be the main point of attraction to visitors.
Niagara Falls are about one hundred and sixty fee high composed of the horse shoe on the Canadian, which are said to be about nineteen hundred feet across, then the falls on the American side, which are about nine hundred and twenty feet wide, and between the two falls towards the American side is an island usually known as Goat or Iris Island.
Many calculations have been made by different persons as to the amount of water passing over the falls each day—and it is estimated at 2,400 millions of tons per day—100 millions per hour. A calculation in Martin’s British Colonies, gives the following result of a calculation made at Queenston. “The river is here half a mile broad; it averages 25 feet deep; current three miles per hour; in one hour it will discharge a column of water 3 miles long, half a mile wide, and 25 feet deep, containing 1,111,440,000 cubic feet, being 113,510,000 gallons of water each minute.”
Sight seers from all parts of the world visit Niagara Falls, and from the following description by Dr. Canniff, of a visit made to the Falls in Governor Simcoe’s time, would go to show that facilities for getting at the bottom of the falls, and the accommodations for visitors at that time were very few indeed.
As soon as horses and saddles could be mustered, the Royal
party wended their way by a narrow river road on the high banks of the Niagara
River to the falls. The only tavern or place of accommodation was a log hut for
travellers to refresh themselves. There the party alighted, and after partaking
of such refreshments as the house afforded, followed an Indian path through the
woods to the Table Rock. There was a rude Indian ladder by which to descend to
the rocks below, 160 feet. This consisted of a long pine tree with the branches
cut off, leaving length enough at the trunk to place the foot upon, and hold on
by the hands, in ascending or descending. (This Indian ladder continued in use
several years later, when it was superseded by a ladder furnished from money
given by a lady from Boston to the guide.) Our illustrious traveller availed
himself of this rude mode of descent.
The Prince and party lunched at the Hon. Mr.
Hamilton’s on their way back. In the evening the Prince was amused by a war
dance by the Mohawks, headed by Brant himself. The next day the Prince
re-embarked and proceeded to Quebec. In 1860 the Prince of Wales, while in this
country accompanied by a numerous suite, also visited the Falls.
The Town of Clifton, in the Township of Stamford, has a population of fifteen hundred people, and is the eastern terminus of the Great Western Railway; it also has railway facilities for the Canada Southern Railway. Clifton is most picturesquely laid out along the banks of the Niagara River, and at all times those wonders of engineering skill, the two suspension bridges, and nature’s greatest wonder the Niagara Falls, brings many visitors from all parts of the inhabited world to view them, and it may be said that Clifton’s property in a great measure depends upon the number of pleasure seekers and sight seers who annually visit the place, and however disappointed sightseers might have been while visiting other so-called great sights in Europe and America, here they are never disappointed, for their expectations, however great, are more than realized in the grand and beautiful sights to be seen around the Falls.
The village of Drummondville, in the Township of Stamford, and about a mile from the Falls of Niagara, is a pleasant little place of about 800 inhabitants, and covers part of the ground where the battle of Lundy’s Lane took place, July 25th, 1814. Being in close proximity to the great Falls and beautifully situated on a rising piece of ground, with streets shaded by wide spreading maple trees, Drummondville is one of the pleasantest places in the Counties of Lincoln and Welland, and the attraction of the battle field annually brings thousands of sight seers here.
To the northern part of this township is the village of Stamford. It has about 300 people, has a general store or two, a blacksmith and waggon shop, several churches, and other shops generally found in a country village. Stamford is very pleasantly located.
The Clifton House is located at the terminus of the new Suspension Bridge, on the Canada side of the river, commanding a more extensive view of the falls than any other house in that vicinity. From its spacious verandahs can be seen one of the finest views of the great Cataract that can be had, as the house is located directly opposite to them, and one looks squarely upon the whole Falls at once. There are connected with the house beautiful little cottages for the use of those who would prefer them. The present proprietors are Messrs. Colburn & McOmber.
t is a new hotel situated near the Table Rock, Canada side. It is clean, neat and orderly. It was built by its present proprietor, Mr. D. Isaacs. From this house there is a splendid view of the Falls; its nearness to them gives the guests a rare opportunity of looking directly down upon them within a stone’s throw of the most magnificent part of the great Cataract.
It is a first class Temperance House, at Niagara Falls, on the Canada side, and is kept open the year round. It is situated on the hill opposite the Falls, five minutes walk from the new Suspension Bridge, and commands a view of the Falls, and the rapids above. Mr. E. Redpath is the proprietor and manager.
Is located at Clifton, near the northern terminus of Suspension Bridge, within a short distance of the Great Western Railway depot. The house is not large, but it has every convenience for a limited number of guests. It enjoys a good reputation as one of the most popular hotels in that part of the country, and is largely patronized by the most respectable class of travellers.
generally known as the Ellis House, is also in Clifton, in close proximity to Rosli’s. It is also, therefore convenient to the G. W. R. station. The proprietor Mr. T. F. Ellis is well known and personally very popular. The house is well kept and is consequently favoured by the travelling public.
named after the proprietor, Mr. W. F. Ellis, is located in the village of Drummondville, and is about a mile from the Falls. It is a good hotel for ordinary travellers, and receives a liberal patronage. It has abundance of accommodation and is always kept in good order.
is kept by Mrs. Kick, and is also located in Drummondville, immediately opposite the Ellis house. The hotel has a good appearance, has been locng and agreeably known, and is extensively patronized.
at Drummondville, is kept by Mrs. J. Evans. The house is very respectable and well conducted, and is a favourite resort for travellers. It is, like the other hotels at Drummondville, of the substantial, rather than the showy order. It is scarcely a mile from the Falls.
This popular house is situated immediately opposite the Great Western Railway station at Clifton. The house is frequently spoken of as Buckley’s, after the proprietor, Mr. Buckley. It is known as a very good hotel, and does a large business. It is the most convenient hotel in Clifton to the Canada Southern Railway Station.
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