How old was daredevil Annie Taylor when she went over Niagara Falls in a barrel?
Annie Edson Taylor did not fit the image most people would have of a female daredevil. She was matronly and wore her hair in a bun. She was headed for the poor house and so she was looking for a big score.
She read an article about the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York and how those who were attending the expo were also flocking to see Niagara Falls. That’s when the idea for her get-rich-quick scheme came to her in a flash, something that no one (man or woman) had ever done before: go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was banking not only on surviving the experience, but that she would earn lots of money from telling her story.
Taylor’s mode of transportation would be a custom-built oak and iron barrel lined with a mattress and leather harness to secure her arms. The barrel was four and a half feet high and three feet in diameter with a blacksmith’s anvil secured in the bottom to keep the barrel upright.
On October 24, 1901, Taylor celebrated her 63rd birthday not with cake and ice cream, but with the ride of a lifetime. At a point south of Goat Island near the American shore, she climbed from a row boat into the barrel with her lucky heart-shaped pillow. Her conspirators sealed the lid, pumped air in through a hole which they plugged with a cork, and gave her a push. Thanks to her promoter, there were thousands of people watching the barrel drift down the river, tumble over the falls and plunge into the deep water. The suspense lasted about twenty minutes when the barrel popped up and finally drifted close enough to shore to be recovered. Taylor admitted to losing consciousness when she dropped over the falls, but the only injury she sustained was a cut on her head and the effects of shock.
Since there were no reality TV shows to star in (or no television for that matter), in order to cash in on her feat, Taylor recounted her experience in lectures and posed for photos at a souvenir stand. Her manager took off with her barrel, and most of her money was spent trying to reclaim it, which she never did. For all her efforts, Taylor died destitute 20 years later.
Tonight we had a total of 24 people checked in to the Net and, of those, 1 had the correct answer to the Trivia Question. Congratulations to:
- Bob – KB6YVA
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