For the landscape tourist in the antebellum United States bent on setting eyes on the most beautiful and sublime of scenic sights, Niagara Falls promised the biggest bang for the buck. To see Niagara was to take in the grandest, loudest, most stunning and magnificent landscape in America, and perhaps the world. “NIAGARA!” wrote one enraptured visitor. “Who has not heard of this peerless cataract, which is among the water-falls what the Himalayas are among mountain-ranges, not only the grandest, but so greatly preeminent as to be without rivalry?” A visit to Niagara promised heights of visual ecstasy, and countless Americans flocked to the falls (as they do today) in order see it, ecstatically, for themselves.1