Barrels of watery fun

It takes a special kind of person to ride a barrel over Niagra Falls. And on this day in 1901, a 63-year-old widow made history (briefly) by doing it first.

In search of fortune and fame (yes, in that order — hopes of money overshadowed visions of popularity), a retired schoolteacher named Annie Edson Taylor strapped herself into an old pickle barrel, had herself towed to the middle of the Niagra River, and then floated and flew across Horseshoe Falls.

She survived, but her fame didn’t. After a brief round of photographs and a few speaking engagements, she faded from popular memory.


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