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Niagara Falls cooperated with its Canadian counterpart at the beginning of the 20th century to create a huge international carnival that drew thousands of people.

According to a 1910 article in the Buffalo Courier-Express, transportation facilities were strained by an estimated 25,000 people but there was no trouble or rowdyism.

The Niagara International Carnival Day was held on a glorious summer day in early June of 1910 and proved a huge success.

The reporter wrote, "From all over Niagara County, from all over Western New York and from outside the Empire State the people came and transportation companies and all forms of public service had a red letter day."

A large parade would meander from throughout Niagara Falls, Ontario across the Suspension Bridge and through Niagara Falls, NY streets. There was, however, one disappointment which, the reporter noted, was to be expected "in attempting such a big demonstration for the first time."

Plans had called for school children from both sides of the boarder to form "living flags" of Canada and the US in Queen Victoria Park. The reporter said, "conditions arose on the other side of the river which could not be overcome and made the demonstration impossible."

Because of the large crowd, the parade did not wind though Queen Victoria Park as anticipated so the youngsters' demonstration was not held.

The military parade took a long time to cross the upper bridge because of the many participants and masses of people. The International Railroad Company "had to be cautious in letting people onto the structure as proper insurance against an accident which here would have been appalling."

According to the article, Police Superintendent Martin Sheehan "and others exerted themselves to give good service and exhibit proper courtesy. The paraders were passed free over both of the steel arch bridges."

The reporter added, "With the local and nearby militia companies, the firemen and police of both cities, the bands, the fraternal organizations, the public officials, etc., the military parade made quite an imposing appearance."

The International Carnival also featured a 10-mile marathon race which went through streets on both sides of the border. J. Mole, of the YMCA of Buffalo, won the race with a time of 55:15.

The article said, "The occasion took so much of the character of the glorious Fourth and there were plenty of explosions and much confetti.

"There was also a second parade in the evening featuring illuminated and decorated automobiles from both cities and Buffalo. A pyrotechnic display surpassed all previous efforts in that line. The fireworks set off from goat Island and costing $1,200 together with the illumination of the gorge by colored lights created the most magnificent effect ever seen at this show place.

The weather cooperated causing the reporter to write, "The weather clerk was exceedingly kind and the day was ushered in and closed with an excellent quality of weather. Also, The most perfect order prevailed throughout the day and no serious accidents marred the festivities.

SPIRAL CORSET STAYS -- Had any of the carnival goers passed along Lewiston Road they would have spotted a famous Niagara Falls industry, the Spirella Manufacturing Company. The company was formed in Meadville, Pa., by inventor Marcus M. Beeman, but by 1910, the headquarters was moved to the Lewiston Road facility.

Beeman, perhaps on the instigation of his wife who was bothered with broken corset stays, invented a spiral stay of wound metal wire that provided more strength but was still flexible. The idea caught on and before long Beeman had factories in Letchworth, England, Dusseldorf, Germany, Cambridge Spring, Pa., as well as in Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and, of course, Meadville. The headquarters, however, remained in Niagara Falls.

The manager from 1904 until his death in 1946, Was William W. Kincaid, of Youngstown. He hired only women as salesman and dubbed them "corsetieres." When women turned away from the use of restricting corsets, business fell off and the company closed by 1958. The building became a nursing home.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com May 10, 2011