Valentines Day (Part 1): Honeymoon Capital

The first publicized honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls was in 1802 by Theodosia Burr, daughter of Aaron Burr, the Vice President of the United States. Soon after, in 1804, Jerome Buonaparte, brother of the more famous Napoleon, traveled with his new American wife Elizabeth Paterson from New Orleans for the same reason.

The history behind Niagara Fall’s reputation as the “Honeymoon Capital of the World”  can be more tied to the post-war’s emerging middle class. The vast majority of North Americans had finally gained access to disposable income, motor cars and vacation time – articles that not only reinvented travel, but the honeymoon itself.  As class gaps closed, the honeymoon became one of the earliest instances of mass tourism.

For the first time, newlyweds were able to mark their officially sanctioned sexuality. Niagara Falls poised itself as the cultural icon for which love and newlyweds could celebrate their nuptials. As Niagara Falls became a tourist destination, so too did the honeymoon became a staple feature of post-war marriage and, coincidentally, a culturally acceptable metaphor for sex.

Today, Niagara Falls is seen as a tacky tourist trap, but once upon a time, it was romantic, magical and a place where one’s love and sexuality was discovered for the first time.

A Niagara Falls song written in 1841 summed it up best:

Oh the lovers come a thousand miles
They leave their homes and mother;
Yet when they reach Niagara Falls,
They only see each other.

-Author Unknown

6 comments

    This is so sweet! Growing up so close to Niagara Falls, you take all of its tackiness for granted. I have such a better appreciation for it, knowing the romantic and quirky history that made it a top tourist destination. Such an interesting, well written topic, Megan!

    Tandi | 4 months ago Reply

      These are my points exactly Tandi. When I was a kid going down Lundy's Lane seeing the decrepit motels and strip clubs, I never really thought of what they looked like in their hayday. Thanks Megan for giving me a new appreciation for that era of Niagara Falls.

      Hilary T | 4 months ago Reply

    I love this. Your blog has very interesting history and facts to it

    ava | 4 months ago Reply

    Niagara Falls is my parents date spot! They've stayed in all the fancy hotels! They love it.

    Linnea Davis | 4 months ago Reply

    Hi Megan. As you know I came here only two years ago, and Niagara Falls always seems a tourist place to me, which becomes very crowded in holidays. But what you have shared is so interesting! Each time I visit the Falls I always think it is such a magical place that people can be a poet or painter there easily. So, it didn't make me surprised to learn Niagara Falls was the Honeymoon Capital of the World! I will look at the Falls with a different perspective next time after I read your blog. Thank you!

    Dicle | 4 months ago Reply

    Wow, I always assumed that Niagara was known as the honeymoon capital of the world because of the Marilyn Monroe "Niagara" movie. It's pretty crazy to think it started much longer ago in the beginning of the 19th century. Look forward to your next posts- learning a lot!

    Rebecca | 4 months ago Reply

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