Books: By Authors: Tom Yots

The Power Trail: History of Hydroelectricity at Niagara

Olmsted in Buffalo and Niagara

In 1960 the Chamber of Commerce sponsored a contest to find a new slogan for the City of Niagara Falls. Local bank secretary, Christina Martan, captured the prize with the saying "Niagara Falls: King of Power, Queen of Beauty." This simple phrase summed up what was then over 100 years of tension between the majestic beauty of the Falls and the latent power in the water, waiting to be released as it cascaded from the upper to lower Niagara. Beginning with Augustus Porter's mid-19th century plan for the hydraulic canal and continuing today with the twenty first century US and Canadian Power plants, power has been King at Niagara. Throughout this very same time, the lovers of the Natural Niagara, beginning with Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1870s, have reminded us of the beauty of Niagara as a Queen. As City Historian it has been my goal to reunite the community with its proud industrial past and at the same time learn how industry and nature grew and survived side by side in this city for over a century. The Power Trail is the first step in this reconnection with Niagara's glorious past.. .the story of a powerful King and his beautiful Queen.

Thomas Yots has a Masters degree in Architecture and works as a Preservation Consultant in Western New York. He has been the City Historian of Niagara Falls New York since 2003. He and his wife restored the National Register James G. Marshall House in downtown Niagara Falls, just a few blocks from the former Schoellkopf Power Plant.