A Womans Record
October 24, 1901Mrs. Anna Edson Taylor, a school teacher from Bay City, Michigan, celebrated her 43rd birthday on Thursday by going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She is the first person, man or woman, who ever went over the Great Falls and lived to tell the tale of how her purpose was achieved. Her object was notoriety (says the " Evening News " correspondent) which she believed would enable her to get a music-hall engagement and thereby raise money to pay off a mortgage which is on her ranch in Texas. The barrel was 4ft. high and 3ft. in diameter. It had been previously sent over the falls with a cat in it as a test. Both the barrel and the cat withstood the shock.
They went over the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side with a sheer drop of 158ft. The barrel was lined with cushions, and the woman was fastened to her place by straps. At five minutes past four o'clock she started. Twenty-three thousand spectators saw the barrel go over the Horseshoe Falls. At 4.40 p.m. the barrel was captured and pulled on to the rocks, and the cover was broken open. Mrs. Taylor immediately raised her arm and waved her hand as a demonstration that she was still living. It was necessary to saw away a portion of the barrel, which was half filled with water, to get the woman out.
She had a cut 3in. long on the back of her right ear; her shoulder was strained, and she suffered severely from shock. The doctors say she will be well in a few days. She said: I feel like offering a prayer that my life was spared. I feel sore about my shoulders. I am not a notoriety seeking woman, and have lived a quiet life. I was left a widow at twenty, and have devoted most of my life to others.
"If it was with my dying breath, I would caution anyone against attempting the feat. I will never go over the Falls again. I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces, than to make another trip over the Falls. I was swirled about like a top, and the water seemed to come in on me in bucketfuls. I held tightly to the handles and thought only of preventing my head from striking the top of the barrel. Once, for a moment, I seemed to lose my senses. I struck the rocks three times. I made the trip voluntarily, but I would not do it again for a million dollars. My husband was a good man. I don't know how I can thank you all for being so kind to me."
This famous photo is being featured this week at the Buffalo History Gazette Store in the Niagara Emporium at Eastern Hills Mall. It is a matted photo, 16x20 in a 20x24 frame. Picture is from the Buffalo History Gazette Collection from an original glass plate negative of this event, and not a copy from the internet.