On This Day, June 30th

1. 1859: Emile Blondin crosses Niagara Falls on a tightrope

It was on this day in 1859 that a person would walk across the Niagara Falls on a tight rope for the very first time. More than 5,000 spectators showed up to watch the Frenchmen professionally known as Emile Blondin walk across a 2 inch thick rope made completely of hemp that stretched 1,100 feet across the Niagara Gorge. The rope was estimated at 160 feet above the bottom of the Gorge. Blondin was very adamant about not wanting to have any sort of safety net; he felt that preparing for a disaster made it more likely to happen. Over the next year, “The Great Blondin” performed all sorts of tight rope stunts, or “ascensions” as he called them. Some were actually quite bizarre like pushing a wheelbarrow across while dressed as an ape, making his manager get on his back while crossing, and even crossing in a sack.