Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Great Gorge Route

A Great Gorge Route streetcar passing by "The Sentinel," circa 1898
(Click photo for larger image)

For a time, this scenic trip was the most popular attraction at Niagara Falls after the Falls themselves. "No one could have said to have seen Niagara until they have made this trip," reads a tour book from the turn of the last century. Beginning operation in July 1895, the Great Gorge Route would carry 13 million tourists, pleasure-seeking locals, leaders of nations, royalty, and celebrities during the next forty years. - from the book, Images of America - Niagara Falls by Daniel M. Dumych

The round trip from the Gorge Terminal (Formally the International Theater) at the foot of Falls Street the Great Gorge open (in the summer) trolley proceeded along Falls to Second, left along Second Street to Walnut Avenue where it entered the Gorge Route right-of-way and started a decent at about the foot of Pine Avenue to the water's edge.

At Lewiston, the track made a loop near the dock and crossed the old Lewiston bridge to the Queenston dock, then climbed the escarpment, passing Brock's Monument, Niagara Glen and proceeding to Table Rock where it looped back to the Falls View Bridge and across to the starting point at Falls Street.

This round trip could be made in two hours without ever changing cars, although stopovers were permitted at scenic points. The fare was $1.50 including bride tolls. Cars ran every 15 minutes during the summer
- from the book A City is Born, by Hamilton B. Mizer.

(Click photos for larger images)

Watch this video created by Christopher George:

To read more about the beginning and the end of THE GREAT GORGE ROUTE, visit this great site and also be sure to visit the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center online here.

Yearnin' for more schoolin'? Be sure to check out this Great Gorge Route page, or maybe even this one while yer at it!
Have any good information or photos on the GREAT GORGE ROUTE that you would like to share? Please email your submissions to stenztv@gmail.com



Anonymous said...

The photo showing all the train cars is labeled as 1864
the GGR was built starting 1895

Lewis Buttery

Brian Lynch said...

The Great Gorge Route mentions the safety of this line, with only one accident in 1917. Was this the line, though, on which there was an accident involving a second train in the late 1800's? I think Lewis may know about this (we have an intersection of ancestors who where on each of those trains!)

Anonymous said...


the accident that connected our familes was in 1894 and it was on the NY Hudson Central
My great Uncle Earl Buttery had a quarry along the gorge and your Great Grandmother was riding from Lewiston to N.F. when an ore car broke loose and slammed into her train car. She had 4 children with her and they were all injured, your GG's shoulder was permanently damaged. Earl was providing stone for the chapel being built at Deveaux School Lewis Buttery

Anonymous said...

I met your brother Jim at the county historian's office Aug 2011 and we were chatting about N.F. and Deveaux when we suddenly realized our familier had intersected back in 1894!!!
Lewis Buttery

Anonymous said...

I had heard that the trolley also stopped at Niagara Wall Paper for tourists to see the factory, but I don't see that in the brochure. Does anyone have any information about that? My grandfather worked at Niagara Wall, so this is of interest to me. Thank you, Joanne Damm Rodgers