Charles Blondin, the stuntman who crossed Niagara Falls, came to Manitowoc

Acrobat shows Charles Blondin walking a tightrope in downtown Manitowoc, Wisconsin in 1874.

A closer look at the photograph that accompanies this column tells the story of an exciting day in Manitowoc in 1874.

The man most dangerously seen on a tightrope in downtown Manitowoc is Charles Blondin, widely considered to be the greatest and most famous tightrope walker of all time.

The story began halfway across the world some 50 years ago with the birth of Jean-Fran├žois Gravelle in France in 1827.

After seeing a tightrope walker in a traveling circus, young Jean-Francois rushes home and proceeds to tie a rope in his yard to begin training. His skill grew rapidly, and he soon began performing his own tightrope action.

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