Like every other family in America, one of the Lincoln family’s favorite road trips was to Niagara Falls.
Their first trip was in July 1857 when Tad was four, Willie was seven and Robert was 14. They stayed at the Cataract House, a fine hotel built tight against the 164-foot-high American falls. The four-story white hotel with green trim was built to last with two-foot-thick walls. It’s verandas overlooked the falls.
The hotel motto was “Famous as the Falls.” Nearly every president of the U.S. signed the register, along with Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and, later, John D. Rockefeller. The Lincolns signed it, “A Lincoln and family.”
The Lincolns returned to Niagara when they traveled from Springfield, Ill., to Washington, D.C., for his 1861 inauguration. They stopped in Buffalo, where they were the guests of former President and Mrs. Millard Fillmore.
Source: “Abraham Lincoln on the Niagara Frontier” by Julia Gates Greene, 1930.