The mighty Niagara. Fabled in song and story, both as a bucolic honeymoon destination and a cursed lovers' leap. Thirty-five miles of sometimes hypnotically wide and calm water, punctuated by the raging leviathan that is the falls, and linking the Great Lakes of Erie and Ontario -- the oldest and newest of the lakes -- in what seems at times to be an unholy alliance of murder, suicide and political intrigue.
Looking out at the river now, from the Youngstown or Lewiston docks, the Grand Island Bridge or the Buffalo waterfront, it is difficult to imagine that once the Niagara teemed with commercial maritime traffic. Schooners, brigs, sidewheel steamers and rumrunners of all descriptions plied these waters from the dawn of recorded civilization until the turn of the last century.
And for more than a few, the river's stony bottom became a final resting place.
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