Who Came Before Tightrope Walker Nik Wallenda?

May 9, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 6:32 PM EDT

By WKBW News

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May 9, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 6:32 PM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Niagara Falls has history of attracting daredevils.

"One of my favorites is Blondin who did many stunts. including going over a tightrope with his manager on his back. He also went over ( the Falls) on a bicycle, and cooking an omelet, but not all at the same time," Director of Library and Archives at the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Cynthia Van Ness said.

Along with Blondin, there are such names as tightrope walkers Balleni, Maria Spelterini and, of course, barrel rider Annie Edson Taylor.

"Annie Edson Taylor was the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel, and live to tell about it in October of 1901. Maria Spelterini was the first woman to cross the falls on a tight rope in 1876," Van Ness said.

They were people who found their dreams came true with a walk across, or ride down the falls.

Now, it is Nik Wallenda that will take the international stage and perform his walk. Wallenda will make history because of his location. He will walk from Terrapin Point directly over the Falls to the Canadian side, something never done before.

"To be at this point it's surreal. At times I think I'm going to wake up and it would be a dream," Wallenda said earlier.

It's not only the thrill of these death-defying acts. It's also what they bring to the area.

"It isn't so much history being made, but history continued. It's a tradition that Niagara Falls has had for a long time started before the Civil War in the 1850's," Van Ness said.

Wallenda even said he wants to be more than a piece of history. He hopes to set up shop in Western New York.

"This is a once in a generation event for sure, but it's more about us being tied into this area. We hope to have a permanent facility to come see Nik Wallenda perform," Wallenda said.

The excitement is just around the corner. Wallenda will be making his debut across the Falls June 15, bringing tens of thousands of spectators to Niagara Falls.