This 2018 episode covers Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Taylor's whole barrel trip was part of a much bigger story of daredevils at this natural wonder, which is tied to its industrialization and commercialization
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Happy Saturday, since we had something of a DARE devil story. In this week's episode on Sonora
MR carver. We thought we would stay in that theme, for this week's classic. It is any adsense
Taylor, he was the first person to go over. Niagara falls in a barrel. This happened.
originally came out July. Ninth, two thousand and eighteen enjoy
going to stuff, you missed in history class a production of Iheart radio.
Hell. I would welcome to the Pied calves time Tracy. We will probably frying. I went on a trip just the other week that involved,
it's a Buffalo New York and since we were so close by Nagras balls,
into Niagara balls. They had never been there before and it reminded me that way. Back last summer I had been planning to do a podcast on people going over Niagara falls in a barrel.
And then I stumbled across an article about a net Kellerman. While I was doing the research for that, I got completely distracted. I forgot totally about it
Having been reminded by going to the actual waterfall, we are going to get back to that today with any Edson Tailor, it was the
person to go over. Niagara falls in a barrel and we're going to start up
the little bit of a brief history of industrial innovation and commercial elation at Niagara, because this whole barrel trip was part of a much bigger story of tourism, and they are nevertheless at this natural wonder so nice
falls, is a collection of three waterfalls on the border between the United States and Canada.
Harry you on the canadian side and New York on the: U S side and there on the Niagara River between Lake Erie
and Lake Ontario the Falls are the horseshoe falls, the American falls and the bridal veil falls. Sometimes horseshoe falls is known as Canadian falls most of the horse. He falls around,
canadian side of the border, while american balls and bridal veil falls are both in the United States. Horseshoe falls is the biggest of the three it's the one that shaped like a horse. You, like its name suggests
And it's what comes to mind for a lot of people when you say Niagara falls its impressive in persons its
It does have sort of the iconic aspect to it. The
Maria around Niagara falls, has been home to a number of Iroquois speaking indigenous peoples, leading up to the seventeenth century, a confederation
known as the neutral lived on what would become the canadian side of the river, and this name comes from the french describing
as neutral in conflict between other Eric.
Nations and consideration. So
there's a guess. It pronunciation, because we couldn't find a clear one, but the
in Rome on or when row
on the other side and the neutral,
federation and the wind row were allies until sixteen thirty nine after that account
nation of wars, epidemics and other factors led to both of them being dispersed,
by and absorbed into other Iroquois and tribes, and nations gathered our descendants of these people. Surely living still today, but there's a hawk
complicated history of all the various Iroquois and peoples that they were not a monolith, so some people end up going siege completely different parts of the country,
others sort of made their way into other tribes and nations. The first european known to see the falls was probably father. Louie Hennepin, who was a french priest,
one thousand six hundred and seventy eight and he wrote about it after he got back to France. Although his account, you said that the falls were six hundred ft tall
we're really about a hundred and seventy feet, or fifty two meters saw the first european settlements and the area where started after the revolutionary war,
it's hard to eyeball distance and scale. I understood quite impressive, they are,
I could see where you would, you would think they were way bigger than they actually are linear by city of
hello New York started to grow dramatically after the complete
of the eerie canal, which connected the great Lakes to Albany New York and then from all many people could reach.
New York City, the other Hudson River and as railroad star.
To expand the Nineteenth century Buffalo became
Your railway hub, its proximity to
Niagara falls helped make the falls in major tourist destination. In one thousand, eight hundred and one Theodosia Burr and Joseph Alston visited the falls as part of their honeymoon. They were kind of it couple at the time
the best. This help set the trend of Nagras as a honeymoon destination, although sometimes we will give that credit to Napoleon Bonaparte's brother, Jerome
who also honeymoon bear in eighteen. Oh, for it was another hunter.
years or so, though, before Niagara falls really started. Building itself, as the honeymoon capital of the world by the eighteen thirties, the tourist
history was booming in Niagara falls, hotels and knickknack shops and tourist attractions were popping up everywhere and developers were buying the prettiest vantage points along the river so that they can charge people.
the look and people were already complaining that the area around the falls was to commercial and two tacky, some complaints about commercialization at Magro
not knowing not new remotely, and it was much to this
ran of european visitors. In the words of Alexis De Tocqueville and a letter to you,
friend in eighteen. Thirty, one quote: if you wish to see this place in its grandeur, hasten if he d
your Niagara will have been spoiled for you already the forest round. It is being cleared the row
we are putting steeples on the pantheon. I dont give the Americans ten years to establish a saw or flower mill at the base of the cataract.
This letter was prescient.
Industry also became a major part of the Niagara scene, with mills and their water wheels. Dotting the river Nikola Tesla famously worked on a hydro power plant that started operation on November, sixteenth, eighteen. Ninety
six. We eventually there were so many mills that they physically effect
the flow of the water over the falls, some of the tourist attractions that still exist. Today's date back to the 19th century, the maid of the mist started operating in eighteen. Forty six, that's one of the boats that will take you up to the bottom of the falls in a little colorful poncho. First, the maid of the mist was a passenger vessel that was carrying people across the
that was serving a much more practical role when a suspension bridge opened across the river in eighteen. Forty, eight, the Meda Miss, became a sight seeing vessel by the eighteen six
yes, there was so much commercial activity and other development at Niagara that people started calling for some kind of preservation effort. A group of politicians and prominent public figures started the free Niagara movement to encourage the state of New York to buy back some of the private land and restore it as a public park. It was both about preserving the natural beauty of the park and making it so that people
could view the falls for free, rather than having to pay a mill owner for a peek at a view that also included all of their industrial equipment. Beth, eventually lead
The Maghreb Reservation ACT in eighteen, eighty three and the creation of
Agrifuels State Park established as Niagara reservation in eighteen. Eighty five, the park itself was designed by Frederick LAW, Homestead the Niagara Parks Commission,
was established in Ontario in eighteen, eighty five, as well as on the Canadians,
the area adjacent to the falls as Queen Victoria Park today, throughout
this time of commercialization. Industrialization am preservation at my I grab. Performers were also working at the falls trying to make a living by entertaining tourists and in the days before tv and film
dare devils were a huge draw, sampan
also known as the Yankee Leaper jumped off a platform on GOAT Island, which is between horseshoe in American falls on October. Seventh, one thousand eight hundred and twenty nine he jumped from a height of eighty five
feet about twenty six meters amp. He survived he made another.
From a height of a hundred and thirty feet. That's forty metres on October, seventeenth, he Sir
I've that one too, although he died.
Bring a jump near Rochester less than a month later, there was also a lot of wire walking at the falls.
Jean Francois grab. It also known as Charles Blondin was the first person to cross the falls on a tightrope on June 30th, one thousand eight hundred and fifty nine about twenty five thousand spectators gathered to watch him do the
and then he went on to do a whole whole lot of other wire walking stance at Niagara, including carrying his
editor across on his back and once I'm carrying a stove to the half way point and cooking breakfast on there, and once he was done cooking this omelette or whatever he lowered it
down to people on board the made of the missed on the river below
doing all of this. There devilry until eighteen, ninety six and he was the first of really
many wire walkers at the falls at is a big ball with nope. For me,
there are well, I mean there is still a wire walking at befalls like I'd. I remember back in the day
we were owned by discovery,
being a much hyped wire walk at the falls that was going beyond cv. Still, a thing
All of that is a big note for me like why
To do that with you could sit on the boat. I endorse
The impulse I does is not for me, Steve, Brody, color
aimed that he went over the falls in nothing but a padded rubber suit in eighteen. Ninety nine, but there is no evidence that this feat ever actually happen.
he had also means disputed claim to have jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and survived. One popular stock was to try to survive the extremely treacherous Magro Whirlpool, which is downside.
From agrifuels. At a point where the river makes a sharp bend, people would try to make it through this treacherous whirlpool in barrels or sometimes protected by nothing other than a life preserver.
on June sixth of eighteen, sixty one Joel Robinson successfully took the Meda the mists through the whirlpool after it was sold to occur.
Montreal. That would only accept delivery on Lake Ontario, Matthew Webb, who have been the first person to swim across the English Channel Guide, trying to swim that stretch of the river and one thousand eight hundred and eighty three. This is just a sampling of.
All the dare devil. Stunting there was going on at Niagara falls leading up to the turn of the twentieth century. But one thing all of these dear devils hadn't come in here,
All of them were men. It was a very masculine world which made the first person to go over
Calls in a barrel even more of a novelty and we're gonna talk about her after we pause for a sponsor break
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Any Edison was born October, twenty fourth, eighteen, thirty, eight near Auburn New York, her parents were Merrick Edson,
decrease Warren and the family was pretty well off. Merrick owns the milling interests in the family, spent their summers out in the country and their winters in the city, and he also had at least two older,
Others she had an adventurous streak for the time she was quite young. She liked to be outdoors and to reach
adventure stories and she also had a fondness for roman history. Her father died when she was ten and at fourteen. She and her brothers were sent to a private seminary finish there,
vacation for years later and he married David S, Taylor. They had one child together. Although the baby didn't live past infancy, David was killed while fighting in the civil war and it first and he still had enough money
live on, but it soon became clear that that money was not going to last forever. Her seminary,
Education also haven't really set her up for supporting herself. So
Enrolled in a state teaching college after she finished her studies that the teaching college he spent a few years travelling to different cities where she had friends and family working as a teacher
if we really, it was all over the United States. She also went back to school again to studied dance and physical culture
if you remember from our episode on Fort shy in the school physical culture, is a combination of calisthenics and strength, training and General Health and wellness that was really popular in the nineteenth century. She started teaching dance
physical culture and even opening her own school. Even though that school failed sometime around eight
Ninety eight Taylor move to basically Michigan by this point. She was really on
be with her prospects for her life. She had gone from a comfortable childhood and youth.
Two working as an itinerant teacher
She also had a series of misfortunes in which she lost a lot of the savings that she had, including living through, but
robbery and a fire. There were no pensions or retirement programmes, and she didn't want to be poor or live off the charity of her friends, so she kept trying to think of ways to
money enough money to be self sufficient and comfortable. Again, according to some accounts, she had heard about Steve Brody's alleged stunned at Niagara falls, and she didn't think he had really done it. But it's possible that, having heard about that planted the seed for her
start later on. In her words, quote two years I had been constantly studying when not occupied in teaching what I could do to make money to make it
honestly and quickly all kind
schemes ran riot through my brain reading in New York paper about people going to the pan. American,
position and from there to Niagara falls. The idea came to me like a flash of light. Go
four niagara falls in a barrel. No one has ever accomplish this feat. I did not
get wrong as there was nothing a modest in the act, nor did it involves
of any one but myself, I believe in prayer and
I will answer, if only there is faith, as my motive was not a selfish one, but two succour to friends: one
as little children, the other indelicate health and to aid myself financially. I believed I would live. I was determined to live.
vindicate to the World God's mercy and goodness, as a side note. The pan american exposition in Buffalo, which she referenced there, is where President William Mckinley was assassinated. He was shot on September, sixth, one thousand nine hundred and one and he died several days.
It's not totally clear where, in the timeline Taylor thought up this stunts or whether the assassination affected her plans at all,
regardless, though she knew that to make this journey and survive. She would need the right barrel. She started mocking up models, cutting them out of paper and selling them together with twice.
and ultimately she designed a custom made barrel that was about five feet or one and a half meters tall and it had a twelve inch head it. Twenty orange middle and fifteen inch foot. So that's
thirty cm x. Sixty CM and thirty eight cm from head to foot she selected White Kentucky Oaks for the wood with ten riveted metal hoops. Taylor also planned for a ballast. Sometimes it's described as an anvil that would be in the bottom of the barrel, and she hoped this would make the barrel
they upright whilst floated down the river rather than having it just role around every which way with per inside of it. She looked for a cooper to make the barrel and when she found one, he refused to do it
that this was way too dangerous a plan for any person and that
would surely be killed if she tried it, but she persisted
and eventually he gave in the fire
a barrel had the words queen of the missed on the side going over the phone
in a barrel with just one step and tailors plan for her future prosperity from there, she was planning to go in a lecture tourists if she hired a man named Frank M Russell to act as her manager
she decided on October, twenty third nineteen o one as the day for her plunge. This was the day before her sixty third birthday, but thinking that no one would want to
come and see a sixty something woman daredevil or on the lecture circuit. She
Russell described. Her is being twenty years younger everyone but Taylor,
had maybe also Russell thought. This was a terrible idea. Authorities thought it was so dangerous that they told Russell they would charge him with manslaughter. Miss Taylor died in the attempt.
but even as everyone she encountered, try to talk or out of its Taylor insisted that she would do it. She even that a trial run by sending her cat over in a barrel on the eighteenth of October. According to most reports, the cat was frightened but
It makes no like her very much frankly by flagrantly lotta people, not like her very heads. I unjust.
there. I am thing I
one day. You know there are a number of sort of retrospectively and more recent years that people are written in there
one that I read that just was not
irritable in its red of her at all, and that was one of the things the person was so mad about Leah, but on the twenty third,
day she had selected, the weather was bad. High winds made the surface
the already fast moving Niagara River. Incredibly choppy, she had higher
two men to assist her Fred, Tuesday
and William Hollerin Tuesday,
and hollerin looked at the water, and they said there was no way that they could safely navigate to the drop off point. In those conditions. Taylor was crust, but she tried again the next day her sixty third birthday,
Tuesday, Ellen Hollerin Road, her out to grass Island and their away from the crowds of thousands of people who had come to watch or do this. She took off her hat and coat and overskirt and got into this barrel inside
She tied one strap around her waist and another around her foot. With the help of keeping her head from slamming into the top of the barrel. The barrel was packed with cushioning and once the lid was on her assistance, you,
a bicycle pump to pump in more air. Sometimes this
Described is trying to pressurize it, but she was afraid of running out of oxygen before getting to the falls to avoid being swear
over the falls themselves. Her assistance had to cut her loose
almost a mile away, so she had a lengthy journey.
or even getting to the falls followed by a wait for someone
Fischer out of the water. Once the air had been pumped in Taylor plugged their whole with a court.
Almost immediately, though it turned out that her fears of running out of air were maybe not totally founded it the barrel.
Not airtight. It also was not watertight. It started leaguing and soon her feet were in a pool of freezing water and about four in the afternoon after rowing to the door.
this part of the river tailors assistance cut her loose and that's Oregon applies for a sponsor break.
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Here's how any Edson Taylor describe those first moments adrift in Niagara River quote, my heart swear
And for some moments I felt ass though I were being suffocated, but I determined to be brave by a supreme effort of Will. I calmed myself at once and began earnestly to pray if it was God's will to spare my life, if not give me an easy death. This reminds me a little bit of
Henry Box Brown, the count of being in the box while being shipped around I'm going to say he has a much better reason to be put in a box and sent them when I totally concur, but just that moment of life
trapped. I'm just gonna pray lake, Ivy, they're gonna, get it out or it's gonna end there
bids on the upper Niagara turned out to not be all that bad. The water in the barrel kept
Bing deeper, and there was the cause,
attention in anticipation of when she would get to the falls and whether she would survive
going over, but in terms of how rough their rights,
was. She was pleasantly surprised that it about for twenty three, the bear
finally shot over the falls in her words quote, I thought for a moment my senses were lost. The feeling was one of absolute horror.
I still knew when I struck the water of the lower river. The shock was not so great, but I went down
down until the momentum had spent itself. For a few brief moment, she was
completely underwater, but then the submerged barrel came back up under the torrent, and now
turned out to be worse than the anticipation or the fall. She described it as being work
like a dash you're in a turn. After several terrifying minutes, constantly spinning and striking rocks the barrel finally popped out from under the cataract and tailor lost consciousness.
but then the Meda, the mist which had resumed operation in eighteen. Eighty five came to retrieve the barrel chief and
your drawn Ross was the person who opened the barrel and exclaimed the woman is very
it's alive or something similar Sheila
I'd something along the lines of yes. She is, though, much hurt and confused. I don't think
I would be that composed in my initial speech, after something like that, but probably mind would not be fit to print Taylor
was bleeding from a head wound when she was pulled out of the water and she almost certainly had a concussion but other than that.
Bruises, she was unharmed. She had become the first person known to go
we're Niagara falls and survive likely said earlier, thousands of people had come out to watch this stuff
and it was covered in the Niagara area, newspapers and some other scattered newspapers as well. But it was it really that big of a new sensation elsewhere, the Boston
the globe had a small feature about it, for example? But when I looked through the New York Times Archive, I didn't find anything about it as it turned out
her manager was incompetent of fraud. Is both a lot of other? Well,
publicize stance at Niagara had been performed before throngs of spectators who paid for a seat on bleachers that had been put up just for the event Brussels
arrange anything like that. The only thing he tried to
to make money on the day was cell signed photographs. He also
do a very good job of getting your honor planned lecture tour she did appear
at the PAN, American Expedition, but the only engagements that you lined up her after that were it dime museums, which she thought those were beneath her. So there's some accountability there on her too. He did line up work for her that she did not once do but like it also wasn't the work she had been wanting.
the dew tailors decisions. A bill herself as forty three instead of sixty three also came back to bite her because when people did come to see her, they did not believe that this old woman
possibly be the forty three year old, any Edson Taylor that they had heard about. I actually think the fact that she was sixty three could be the selling points right. Yeah today
we could be the selling going by snow. She didn't think I was gonna. Work,
That was a poor calculation on their part, the closest thing that Taylor,
forgot to lecture to her was a series of engagements appearing in department store Windows where she would pose with her barrel and then Frank Russell disappeared. Taking that barrel with him, she said
the new manager who hired a younger women to impersonate her tail
never got her barrel back even half
borrowing money to hire a private investigator to go. Look for it, eventually,
Had a replica barrel made and went back to my anger falls where she tried to make ends meet by posing with this replica barrel on the sidewalk and selling postcard.
She also wrote a brief autobiography in one thousand nine hundred and two we have quoted from it. It's probably embellished, especially in some of the places we didn't quote from so, for example, it took
I've guts to go over Niagara falls in a barrel, but she also said that, while being robbed at gunpoint, she looked at around
who had a gun to her head and said quote blow away. I would soon be without brains is without money and that, as a result, this robber let her live. That seems like
an unbelievable presence of mind. In the middle of an hour
robbery, but maybe this is me
Yeah. I don't know I mean to me it seems impossible. I couldn't pull that are, but I also
have said a whole lot of explanation. I came out of a bear all set up clear. I do not of a mind to handle either of these things in the context of manners
show me. Epson Taylor spent her last year's at the Niagara County almshouse, and she died on April 29th, one thousand nine hundred and twenty one at the age of eighty three. She is buried at Oakwood Cemetery
in Niagara falls New York in an area called strangers, rest, which is the burial sight of a number of Niagara Dear Devils,
after any Edson Taylor survived her trip over Niagara falls, she's reported to have said. No one ought to ever do that again or
We even more direct quote. I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon. Knowing it was going to blow me to pieces, then make another trip over the false. You know she, just you
Maybe she had like away with words, but in spite of these warnings she did start something of a trend in addition to people who have been swept over the falls by accident or
intentionally gone over without intending to survive at least sixteen people,
tried going over the falls in a barrel or some other kind of barrel, like device since Annie Edson Taylor did it eleven of those people have survived the next person after Taylor was Bobby Leach. He went over the falls on July 25th, one thousand nine hundred and eleven, so not quite ten years later,
What is tripping over the falls in a steel barrel he had performed with Barnum Bailey Circus as a diver and a stunt swimmer. He did this stunt as part of a much hyped triple challenge that also involved him. Parachuting off the upper suspension bridge
my Agora and going through the whirlpool in a barrel he broke several bones and ass. He was going over the phone
then after he recovered, he went on a speaking
or of the United States in Europe with his barrel. He was out of four months.
Games or of New Zealand when you slip on an orange peel, broke his leg and died of complications of gangrene on April twenty eighth of nineteen twenty six, so
He did have more of a career in showmanship than any Edson Taylor did. This is definitely a case of like him doing something she had done ten years before, but becoming famous for
in a way she had not been able to do yet. He kind of had exactly the career she had hoped for yet right up until that orange peel incident. Yeah
I also don't go over Niagara in a barrel. It's dangerous and illegal. We're not
advocating going over Niagara in a barrel just mean I'm
again. Clearly, I have not a dare devil in my heart, but I just don't get it in a nice restaurant near by and watch the falls and eat. That's what we do
bag revolves after walking around Niagara falls. We had a wonderful lunch at a lovely restaurant where we sat there and watch the falls while we ate that sounds great
you were great
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Transcript generated on 2021-04-17.