EVALUATION OF THE GOAT ISLAND COMPLEX, NIAGARA FALLS, NEW YORK
The flora of this island was first altered by the Porter family, who owned
it after 1815, when they constructed the second and third bridges across it
to Goat Island, starting in 1818 (Porter, 16 Ann Rep Comm, 1900). They next
built a "commodious bathing house" and toll-keeper's dwelling,
followed by Porter and
The proximity of such a mill to the rich Goat Island forest, located in
the middle of the American channel, renders strong implications of possible
selective use of the
The disbursements to Peter A. Porter for stationary, listed in the budget
accounts in the early reports of the Commissioners, may indicate the Porter's
operated a printing and stationary business based on their own paper products
derived from their
Description of the paper mill industry and its processes is beyond the
scope of this paper, but rags may have been the initial source of raw
material for Porter's paper, as the first ground-wood pulp mill established
in New York was in 1866 on the Hudson River (Recknagel, 1923). In 1867 the
sulphite process for pulping wood without cotton (rag) fiber was developed
and the pulping industry began to flourish to the detriment of
In 1899, the island's name was changed from Bath to Green Island in honor of the Hon. Andrew H. Green who strove so zealously and efficiently to protect the Reservation, the Falls and, incidentally, the Queen Victoria Park in Ontario from incursions by private industry (16 Ann Rep Comm, 1900).
In their zeal to remove anything artificial from the Niagara Reservation,
Olmsted and Vaux recommended (1887) that the erosion control structures be removed
and all the "made land" be washed away until the contours of the
island returned to their natural condition. Somehow, this action "shall
have accomplished a most attractive view will be had of the rapids and the
A picture of the island published in 1893 showed the little office building for the Commissioners maintained there at the time, and the denuded surface dotted with what appear to be small trees (evergreens). None of these evergreens exist there today. Because Green Island supported the main bridge to Goat Island, there was perpetual construction on it, for example the island was disrupted in 1902 by the construction of the stone bridges, and regraded and sown with grass seed (19 Ann Rep Comm, 1903). In 1909 the road across the island was completely rebuilt and "concrete walks six feet wide on either side constructed between the bridges, a grass plot being left between the road and walks" (26 Ann Rep Comm, 1926). Fixing, improving and replacing the roads, paths and bridge, and laying water, telephone and electric lines, etc., continued as the decades wore on.
It may be assumed that
The oldest trees on this island appear to be on the north end, toward the mainland. It is at this end that the most natural wooded thickets occur today. Evidence is abundant that these native populations can gradually spread over the island without further assistance, but the establishment of their seedlings is stopped by the current practice of mowing, except for the wet margins. A tiny population of Laciniate Toothwort (Dentaria laciniata) at the western extremity may indicate a more extensive wooded thicket there previously. It is primarily Choke Cherry (Prunus virginiana) that readily recolonizes this island.
Holes in the banks on the southeast side indicate populations of native mammals.
* Acanthopanax sieboldianus ACANTHOPANAX. 1988.
* Acer negundo BOX ELDER. Beginning to establish itself, 1988.
Acer nigrum BLACK MAPLE. 1988.
* Acer platanoides NORWAY MAPLE. Forty-inch diameter tree, 1988.
Acer saccharinum SILVER MAPLE. Three trunks, SE edge river, 1988.
Acer saccharum SUGAR MAPLE. One specimen 110 inches in diameter, 1988.
* Aesculus hippocastanum HORSE CHESTNUT. West end. 1988.
* Alliaria officinalis GARLIC MUSTARD. 1988.
* Arctium minus COMMON BURDOCK. Lawn margins, 1988.
* Berberis thunbergii JAPANESE BARBERRY. "Planted, forming thickets on the eastern and western margins," 1986.
Betula papyrifera PAPER BIRCH. One young tree, W end, N shore, 1988.
* Cercis canadensis REDBUD. Three trees planted, SW grove.
* Chenopodium murale NETTLE-LEAVED GOOSEFOOT. Day, 1883 (problematical). Day may have reidentified this specimen as Chenopodium urbicum for his 1888 publication.
* Convallaria majalis LILY-OF-THE-VALLEY. East end, old planting, 1988.
Cornus racemosa PANICLED DOGWOOD. River margins, 1988.
Cornus stolonifera RED-OSIER DOGWOOD. River margins, 1988.
Dentaria laciniata CUT-LEAVED TOOTHWORT. Extreme west end, 1986.
Fraxinus sp. ASH. Abundant all along the island margins, 1988.
* Ginkgo biloba GINKGO, MAIDENHAIR TREE. Along asphalt path, male and female trees, 1988.
* Heracleum mantegazzianum GIANT HOGWEED. [Obs.] 1988.
* Ligustrum vulgare PRIVET. Impenetrable thicket on the east margin, 1988.
* Lythrum salicaria PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE. Along wet island margins, west end, 1986.
* Morus alba WHITE MULBERRY. Becoming established, 1988.
* Nepeta cataria CATNIP. Day, 1888. 1984.
Ostrya virginiana HOP-HORNBEAM.
Parthenocissus sp. VIRGINIA CREEPER. On rocks on island margin, 1988.
* Parthenocissus tricuspidata Planch. JAPANESE or BOSTON IVY. On stone pedestrian bridge, 1988.
Platanus occidentalis SYCAMORE. Several, 1988.
Potamogeton alpinus var. tenuifolius
ALPINE PONDWEED. "Rapids of the Niagara River, near
Prunus virginiana CHOKECHERRY. Abundant and conspicuous all along the margins of the north-western side, some 18, 10, 15 and 21 inches in diameter, 1988.
* Rhamnus cathartica BUCKTHORN. 1988.
*Rhodotypos scandens JETBEAD. "Planted," 96122617.
Rhus radicans POISON IVY. [obs. 1988].
* Robinia pseudacacia BLACK LOCUST. A number planted in the western lawns, 1988.
Rubus odoratus PURPLE-FLOWERING RASPBERRY. A few specimens on the river margins, 1988.
* Salix alba WHITE WILLOW. 1988.
Salix rigida HEART-LEAVED WILLOW. West end, river edge, 1988.
Sambucus sp. 1988. Doubless this is Sambucus
canadensis L., the edible richly purple-berried Elderberry. The other, not
so palatable, species, S. pubens or
Red-berried Elder, grows to the north near the gorge at Whirlpool Woods and
Schovell's Knoll at Artpark in
Taxus sp. GARDEN YEW. Island margin, east end [obs. 1988].
# Taxus cuspidata Sieb. & Zucc. JAPANESE YEW. A deep old planting of this alien species occurs on the island margin on the eastern end, as mentioned above. It is currently (April 20, 2007) obscuring the presence of the plinth of a bust commemorating Jacob Schoelfopf, as well as the view of the rapids of the northern channel of the Niagara River where it divides upstream before plunging over the brink of the American Falls.
Typha latifolia BROAD-LEAVED CATTAIL. Western river margins, 1988.
Viburnum opulus var. opulus GUELDER ROSE. SW river margin, 1988.
Ulmus thomasii ROCK ELM. "Planted," Day, 1888.
* Vinca minor PERIWINKLE. Dense carpet on island margin, 1988.
Vitis riparia FROST GRAPE. 1988.