Church's first visit to Niagara Falls was probably in 1848, a few months after Thomas Cole's death. Church made the trip from his
home along the Hudson River several times, probably travelling the Erie Canal. He is thought that he visited again in September of 1851 but in 1856 he started work on the painting above. That year Church
visited the Falls at all seasons - on March 19-20, on July 7th and again in September and October. The work was finally exhibited in 1857 at Williams, Stevens & Williams. Viewers were charged twenty five
cents to see the painting. The gallery purchased the painting for $2,500 plus $2,000 for copyright to make chromolithographs.