French-born acrobat Jean-François Gravelet made a name for himself by crossing the gorge below Niagara Falls on a tightrope. The rope was 1,100 feet long and 160 feet above the water, and he crossed it successfully on June 30, 1859.
Evidently this wasn’t hard enough, because he later repeated the feat with a series of hair-raising variations: blindfold, in a sack, pushing a wheelbarrow, wearing stilts. That man on his back is his manager, Harry Colcord, who apparently concluded it must be pretty safe. Midway through one crossing, Gravelet actually sat down and cooked an omelette.