Samuel Zimmerman, “Father of Niagara Falls” owned “Clifton Place”, which was comprised of many properties overlooking Queen Victoria Park. He had extensive stables, gate lodges, gardens and ponds, and had just started construction of a mansion in the centre, when he was tragically killed in a railway accident in 1857.
American John T. Bush purchased a large area of the Zimmerman properties, and by 1866 had finished the luxurious private residence that Zimmerman had started. The solid stone three-storey house, full of walnut paneling, had a vaulted great hall, spacious bedrooms, a black walnut curved staircase, and a small theatre on the upper floor. French windows opening onto a pagoda provided a spectacular view of the falls. After Bush’s death, his family lived there for many years.
Sir Harry Oakes eventually acquired the property as an investment, and the mansion, in a state of disrepair, was razed in 1937. Today, part of the land is owned by the Niagara Parks Commission, and the rest is commercial property.