Who made the world's first tightrope walk across Niagara Falls?
Jean Francois Gravelot was the
first person to tightrope walk across Niagara Falls and survive. He was born on
February 28 in St. Omer, Pas de Calais in Northern France. He was known as the
He arrived in Niagara in early 1958 and was very
obsessed with the thought of crossing the Niagara on a tightrope. Finally, on
June 30, 1959 he accomplished the feet using a 1,100 foot long, 3 inch diameter
manila rope that stretched across what we know today as Prospect Park in
Niagara, New York to Oakes Garden in Niagara Falls, Ontario. He started in the
United States and ended up in Canada in 20 minutes. He used a 30-foot 9m long
pole that weighed 40 pounds to help with balancing.
Throughout the summer of 1859, he crossed the
tightrope eight more times. The hardest walk was accomplished on August 14, when
he carried Harry Colcord, his manager, on his back.
The Great Blondin returned in 1860 and performed
his tightrope stunt for hundreds and thousands of onlookers. He lived a long
life and died in 1897 at the age of 73.
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