Albany: Charles Van Benthuysen & Sons, 1880.
First Edition. Hardcover. Very good. 8vo, 96 pp, with nine mounted heliotype prints by George Barker, a folding view "ideal view of the American Rapids, after the Village Shore and Bath Island and restored according to the proposed plan," six folding maps, and additional facsimiles and engravings. Printed presentation slip from Gardner tipped in. Original green cloth boards are lightly soiled, all else very good or better. The three maps related to the Falls are: Map Showing the Recession of Niagara Falls; Topographical Map of the Region About Niagara Falls Showing the Proposed State Reservation," and "Part of the Original Property Map of Niagara Falls Village, showing the lots and streets included in the proposed State Reservation." Concerns about the preservation of Niagara Falls had begun to emerge in the late 1860s, as industrialists situated power plants along the shoreline and entrepreneurs bought up land so they could charge visitors for a view. Frederick Law Olmsted was one of the leaders of the "Free Niagara" movement, which urged New York State to take control of the Falls so the natural beauty of the surrounding land could be protected from commercial interests and exploitation and remain free and open to the public. This report, authored in part by Olmsted, was commissioned by the State to survey current conditions and make recommendations on what should be done. As anticipated, the report concluded that "we find its treasures in the grasp of money-getters, and its sacred groves assailed by the axes of the mill-man of desecrated by the purveyor of public amusements; and are convinced that destruction of the scenery will be swift and certain unless the all-powerful State shall appear as the preserver of Niagara." The recommendations of Gardner and Olmstead, along with Barker's compelling photos of area's natural beauty and the development along the shoreline, helped turn the tide of both public opinion and rouse state bureaucrats into action. Niagara Falls State Park -- America's oldest state park -- was established in 1885.