When Russ Glasson’s mother and father and in-law visited Niagara Falls in 1969 they witnessed something unique — a waterfall with no water.
Last year, Glasson uncovered 35mm slides of his in-laws photos and took pictures of them with his digital camera so he could share them online. The images show the falls during the six month period when the American falls were “de-watered” by the the Army Corps of Engineers. You can see the crew at work in the photo below.
The engineers were concerned that the rock face was becoming destabilized by erosion and also wanted to clear away the unsightly buildup of rocks at the bottom of the falls.
In order to repair fault lines in the rock face and remove the boulders, the engineers constructed a temporary dam to divert the water to the Canadian falls. The dam was built from 27,000 tonnes of rock and was 183 metres across. When the engineers were finished they blew up the dam. You can see what it looked like below.
While the falls were dry, tourists were able to use a temporary walkway near the edge of the falls to explore a usually unreachable area.
The Canadian falls were unaffected during the work, but Glasson’s photos do reveal the surprising lack of development on the Canadian side of the falls in 1969.
(All photos courtesy of rbglasson’s Flickr photostream)