In the early 1800’s rowboats were used as ferries to cross the Niagara River below the Falls. In 1846, the first Maid of the Mist steamboat, a side-wheel steamboat ferry with twin smokestacks , was launched, with the idea to turn a profit by transporting people, luggage, mail and cargo. But, in 1848, a new suspension bridge was constructed across the river. More people used this for transportation than the boats. To keep the business running, the Maid of the Mist started catering to sight-seeing. Due to financial troubles and fearing the outbreak of the US Civil War, in 1861, the Maid of the Mist boat was auctioned off. A Montreal firm agreed to buy the boat… if it was delivered to Lake Ontario. No Sailor wanted to cross the class 6 rapids that were between Niagara Falls and Lake Ontario. It was up to the Maid’s own captain, Joel B. Robinson, to get the boat safely down river on June 6, 1861. Crowds lined up along the riverbanks to watch this historic event. Except for losing a smokestack, the Maid of the Mist arrived safely.R.F. Carter and Frank LeBlond started the Maid of the Mist Steamboat Company in 1885 and launched a new boat on June 13. This new Maid of the Mist got closer to Niagara Falls than her predecessors. The boat tour became very successful. In 1952, Marilyn Monroe, while filming the movie Niagara, rode the Maid of the Mist.Maid of the Mist introduced its first modern boat in 1955, an all steel and 66 feet long beauty, with two 200-horsepower diesel engines.The Maid of the Mist’s Captain Keech played a part in “The Miracle of Niagara” in 1961. After 7 year old Roger Woodward was accidentally swept over Niagara Falls, the boat captain maneuvered the boat into position so that a life ring could be thrown out to the boy, who was pulled to safety. The current Maid of the Mist is the most powerful one yet. This all steel boat features an upper deck, two 350-horsepower diesel engines, and it’s 80 feet long, weighing in at 145 tons.