Since the late nineteenth century, Niagara Falls has been heavily engineered to generate energy behind a flowing façade designed to appeal to tourists. Fixing Niagara Falls reveals the technological feats and cross-border politics that facilitated the transformation of one of the most important natural sites in North America. Daniel Macfarlane details how engineers, bureaucrats, and politicians conspired to manipulate the world’s most famous waterfall. Essentially, they turned this natural wonder into a tap: huge tunnels divert the waters of the Niagara River around the Falls, which ebb and flow according to the tourism calendar. To hide the visual impact of diverting the majority of the water, the United States and Canada cooperated to install massive control works while reshaping and shrinking the Horseshoe Falls. This book offers a unique interdisciplinary perspective on how the Niagara landscape ultimately embodies both the power of technology and the power of nature.
Foreword: Iconic Falls, Contrived Landscapes, and Tantalizing Opportunities
Introduction: Characterizing Niagara
1 Harnessing Niagara: Developments up to the Twentieth Century
2 Saving Niagara: Innovation and Change in the Early Twentieth Century
3 Negotiating Niagara: Environmental Diplomacy and the 1950 Treaty
4 Empowering Niagara: Diversions and Generating Stations
5 Disguising Niagara: The Horseshoe Falls Waterscape
6 Preserving Niagara: The American Falls Campaign
Conclusion: Fabricating Niagara
Notes; Bibliography; Index
Daniel Macfarlane is an associate professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. He is also a senior fellow at the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, University of Toronto, and president of the International Water History Association. He is the author of Negotiating a River: Canada, the US, and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and also co-edited Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian–American Water Relationship with Lynne Heasley, and The First Century of the International Joint Commission with Murray Clamen.
Macfarlane has crafted an exemplary work of scholarship.
~Donald C. Jackson, Lafayette College, Technology and Culture
Historians and general readers interested in the Falls and in issues connected with the associated technological and political background will appreciate this work.
~A.M. Strauss, Vanderbilt University, CHOICE
Fixing Niagara Falls is an excellent monograph that cleverly analyzes how engineering interventions and human hubris helped make the Niagara Falls that we are familiar with today.
~Clarence Hatton-Proulx, NiCHE
"… Macfarlane’s great contribution is to provide a comprehensive account of the creation of the engineering complex at Niagara Falls…"
~Mark Sholdice, King’s University College at Western University, Ontario Historical Society Review
With this carefully researched study, we find in Niagara Falls a locus of past concerns that reverberate today: the realities of appropriation, the hubristic underbelly of "green" energy, the politics of energy transitions and exports, the power struggles between provincial, state, and federal governments.
~Kyle Wyatt, Literary Review of Canada
Honourable Mention - Wilson Book Prize, The Wilson Institute for Canadian History at McMaster University