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'Powerful People, Powerful Places' walking tour of downtown Niagara Falls

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Wed, May 18th 2016 02:25 pm

Flourishing manufacturing activity; robust retail spending; population and job growth; huge investments in new housing; business ingenuity that had never been seen before.

What Americans wouldn't give for an economic profile like this!

That was Niagara Falls, New York from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century. But how many people today know anything about it today?

Join the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society twice a week for a 90-minute walking tour of downtown Niagara Falls and hear the stories of women and men, black and white, local and immigrant, who worked the mills, served the tourists, started new companies and built the houses that created local success.

Add the Underground Railroad to this panorama, and the story is thrilling. Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society has researched still-existing evidence of this history and turned it into a fascinating visit to the past for residents and tourists alike.

The tour is called "Powerful People, Powerful Places," because it resonates with the strength and energy of the Niagara River that forms the centerpiece for this story.

To join a tour, simply go to the Niagara USA Official Visitor Center at 10 Rainbow Blvd. (on the roundabout at First Street) at 3 p.m. Sundays or 6 p.m. Wednesdays from June 1 through Sept. 30. Participants will be met there by a volunteer tour guide from the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society, and will return to the Visitor Center at the end of the tour. Or register for the tour in advance by going to the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society's website at www.nfhps.org.

Tours cost $10 per person, payable in cash to the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society tour guide. Parking is available at the lot across from the Visitor Center.

The Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society aims to increase awareness of the city's valuable history through tours, training of tour guides, and other public offerings. The organization is partially funded by the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area and by the Arts Services Initiative. Visit www.nfhps.org for more information.

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