Sam Patch was a famous daredevil in the 1820′s who is most noted as the first surviving daredevil to go over Niagara Falls. In 1829 he came to Rochester to tackle the High Falls. He successfully made the jump his first two times. The first was a practice run and the second was in front of what he considered a disappointing crowd. An advertising campaign lauded his second High Falls jump as his last [in Rochester], but ironically turned out to be his very last.
Witnesses claim something must have gone wrong as his feet did not straighten and hit the water first and his body slammed into the water below. Despite speculation that he was hiding, waiting for a triumphant return, this November 9th jump was his last. His body was found frozen in the ice in Charlotte the following spring.
A portion of the original Gorsline Building is now a terraced park for viewing the falls and river gorge.
Don’t miss three landmarks seen only from this location: the eastern view of the lip of High Falls; the original wheel pit of Rochester’s early saw mill; and The Leap, a small balcony near the spot where waterfall daredevil Sam Patch took his last jump. More than half of Rochester watched as Sam took his fatal plunge on Friday the 13th of November, 1829.