HIGGS: Back on the opinion page

Norma Higgs

Hello everyone — I'm back, not as often as before (my choice) but I missed writing to all of you. And many of you wanted me to spend some time with you. We shall start with once a month for now.

I am open to suggestions. Let me know what interests you and what you would like to have me write about. Otherwise I shall just plow ahead and pick up where I left off with history of our area during our formative years.

As I recall, I left off with early Industrial Niagara Falls starting in 1858 with the Articles of Incorporation with by-laws of the Niagara Falls Water Power Co.

“The subscribers have associated and do associate themselves together for the purpose of carrying on and conducting manufacturing, chemical and mechanical business, at the village of Niagara Falls in the State of New York by means of water power drawn from the Niagara river immediately above the falls , pursuant to the act of the legislature of the State of New York entitled, “An Act to authorize the promotion of corporations for manufacturing , mining, mechanical, or chemical purposes” passed February 17, 1848 and the several acts passed in addition thereto; and they do hereby, for themselves and their successors and assigns, enter into the following covenants and agreements to wit:”

“The name to distinguish the Company and to be used for its dealings shall be “The Niagara Falls Water Power Company”. The objects, for which this Company was formed, are for carrying on such manufacturing,, chemical and mechanical business as may be carried on and conducted by means of water power to be obtained from the water of the Niagara River , immediately above the great cataract at the village of Niagara Falls in the State of New York and also the construction of a suitable and sufficient navigable hydraulic canal with its gates, bridges, wharves, and other appurtenances, including the opening and improving the shore and channel of Niagara river as to navigable width and depth, so far as the same may be necessary for the purposes as are or may be connected therewith, or incident to the conducting of the business of said Company, in conformity to the aforesaid act of the Legislature, and several other acts supplemental or amendatory thereof. “

“The amount of the capital stock of said Company shall be Five Hundred Thousand Dollars, with power to diminish the same or increase it to any amount not exceeding one million of dollars, and also to extend or change the business of the Company in the manner provided by law, subject to the provisions of the act aforesaid.”

“The term of existence of the said Company shall be fifty years from the date hereof, unless sooner dissolved according to law. “ “The capital stock of the said Company shall consist of five thousand shares and each share shall be the sum of one hundred dollars.”

1877 began with reference to “Wasted Water Powers” to the Falls of Niagara as one hundred millions of tons per hour and the descent may be taken at 150 feet, making a total of 300 feet between lake and lake. But the force represented by the principal fall alone amounts to 16,800,000 horse-power, an amount which if produced by steam would necessitate an expenditure of not less than 266,000,000 tons of coal per annum. (You can see where this is going – right?) .

In other words, all the coal raised throughout the world barely suffices, to produce the amount of power that continues to run to waste at this great fall. Since it would be impossible to utilize the power on the spot, for the establishment of factories, it was suggested that “we must devise a practicable means of transporting the power to great distances.

During 1885 the water power at Niagara Falls had been utilized by the hydraulic canal, Witmer’s grist mill, the upper and lower races and the paper mill on Bath Island. And, below the falls by Wilmer’s grist mill at the Suspension Bridge.

Stay tuned.

Contact Norma Higgs by email at niahigg@aol.com.

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