Nioga Library System - Niagara Falls Public Library

Parent Organization: Nioga Library System Department: Local History Department
1425 Main Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14305
Phone: (716) 286-4894
Courtney Geerhart - 716-286-4914 - [email protected]

Nioga Library System - Niagara Falls Public Library


Our mission is to provide the citizens of Niagara Falls with quality service, access to excellent collections, assistance in using emerging technologies, and a pleasing, safe environment.

Library services in Niagara Falls began in 1814, when an association of citizens under the direction of General Parkhurst Whitney founded the "Grand Niagara Library." The fledgling library consisted of 40 books.

Through the 19th Century, services improved, and by 1852 the collection had increased to 502 volumes housed in a small room in the Third Street School. Outgrowing that room, the library was then moved to the Frontier Mart on Falls Street. From 1850 to 1898, James F. Trott, "Father of Niagara Falls Schools," served the library and applied to the New York State Education Department for a legal charter.

While awaiting the Charter, the library moved to two large rooms in the Arcade Building on Falls Street, opening its doors on February 1, 1895. Finally, on February 28, 1895, the Charter was signed by Melvil Dewey and the Niagara Falls Public Library was officially opened.

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Nioga Library System - Niagara Falls Public Library contributes through the membership of the Nioga Library System.


Daredevils of Niagara - Photos & writing from the Orrin E. Dunlap collection

Niagara Falls has a history of enticing people to dare the rapids. These daredevils have crossed the Falls over tightropes, barrels, boats, and other contraptions. The Daredevils of Niagara collection includes photographs, advertisements, articles, and other documents about the people who performed these stunts.

Niagara Falls City Directories

City Directories are an important and significant resources used by genealogists, academics, and many others in their research of local history. The Niagara Falls City Directories at the Niagara Falls Public Library Local History Department are a popular resource used for personal history, house history, demographic research, among many other things. Published annually, city directories include a business directory, street and house directory, as well as church, state, and society directory. Often, there is also a map of the city included which helps to contextualize the city of the published year.

State Reservation at Niagara

The State Reservation at Niagara is the oldest state park in the United States, officially established in 1885. The collection includes photographs, advertisements, blueprints, maps, letters, and other documents relating to the development and use of the Park.

The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company: A Visual History

The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company was the first company to generate hydroelectric power from Niagara Falls in 1882. This collection includes photographs and maps which detail the construction, use, and collapse of this historically important power station.