Goat Island (previously called Iris Island) is a small island in the Niagara River, located in the middle of Niagara Falls between the Bridal Veil Falls and the Horseshoe Falls. The island is at the southwest corner of the City of Niagara Falls (and of Niagara County), New York, in the United States and is part of Niagara Falls State Park. Goat Island has no residents, but is a popular destination for tourists visiting the falls on the U.S. side; it offers some of the most spectacular views available there, in particular at Terrapin Point. Goat Island is connected to the U.S. mainland by two bridges carrying foot, car, and trackless train traffic, and to the smaller Luna Island (adjacent to the American Falls) by a pedestrian bridge. Goat island is largely wooded and is interlaced with foot trails. The Cave of the Winds tour elevator provides access down to the foot of the falls.
John Stedman—an early pioneer and miller—kept a herd of goats on the island. Upon returning to the island after the terrible winter of 1780, Stedman found all but one of the goats had died, thus giving the island its name. The preservation of the island as parkland is due to the early efforts of Augustus Porter, who in the middle 19th century recognized the long-term value of the falls as a tourist attraction.
Porter purchased the island and later allowed a group of Tuscarora Native Americans to live on the island and sell their crafts to the tourists who came to the falls by stagecoach and early railroads. In spite of pressure, Porter refused to tame the environment on the island. In 1817, he built a toll bridge to the island for tourists. It was swept away by ice, so another was built the following year downstream. Basil Hall called it "one of the most singular pieces of engineering in the world". Almost seven hundred feet long, it soon became the best-travelled walkway in the region.
The island is home to the Tesla Monument which honors the Serbian-American inventor, Nikola Tesla. The statue was a given to the United States by the government of Yugoslavia in 1976. The author of the statue is Frano Kršinić (1897–1982), a renowned Yugoslav sculptor.