A 63-year-old school teacher named Annie Taylor was probably first to go over on purpose – in a barrel - as a publicity stunt in 1901. Bruised and bloody afterward, she warned: “no one ought ever do that again.” Despite this, at least 14 others have. Some lived, some didn’t.
Several tightrope walkers crossed the falls in the 1800s, but Niagara remained uncrossed for 116 years until both governments gave special permission to acrobat Nik Wallenda in 2012. He succeeded in an 1,800-foot walk, presenting his passport when he reached the Canadian side.
A major source of hydroelectricity, balancing the use of the falls for recreation, tourism and industry is a major challenge.