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Interpreting the Evidence

Cave of the Winds, Niagara Falls, c. 1900

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    Western New York
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Cave of the Winds, Niagara Falls, c. 1900 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
The entrance to the Cave of the Winds behind the Bridal Veil Falls at Niagara Falls, circa 1900.
Historical Context
Niagara Falls consists of three separate falls: the American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. Bridal Veil Falls, also known as the Luna Falls and the Iris Falls, is located between the other two falls and is the narrowest of the three.  Bridal Veil Falls faces northwest; its crest is fifty-six feet wide and has a total vertical drop of 181 feet.  Bridal Veil Falls is separated from the American Falls by a small piece of land called Luna Island.  Visitors to Bridal Veil Falls can take a tour to the Cave of the Winds.  Standing on the Hurricane Deck in front of the cave, people can usually see rainbows both day and night while looking at Bridal Veil Falls.
Essential Question
How does geography influence human settlement patterns and economic systems?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain the influence of geography on New York's settlement and economy.
Historical Challenges
Research the Cave of the Winds. How has it changed over the years?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: How have natural processes caused Niagara Falls to change over time?
English Language Arts: Create a travel brochure for people visiting Niagara Falls. Include five interesting facts about the falls.