Nikolai Tesla, originally born in what is now Croatia, moved from eastern Europe in 1884, and after working for Edison, went on to focus on his own work once he realized he and Edison had different long-term goals. That work became essential to electricity and the modern world.
To honour that work, and the Niagara Falls which inspired his efforts, the Yugoslavian government presented a sculpture by Frano Kršinić to the United States in 1976. The statue depicts Tesla reading his notes, and is identical to another monument at the University of Belgrade.
The spot overlooks the American side of Horseshoe Falls, the main section of Niagara Falls. Tesla was apparently inspired to attempt to harness the power of the falls when he saw a photo of them as a child in eastern Europe. He spent much of his life working with electricity and made groundbreaking contributions. Eventually he was part of the team which built the first alternating hydroelectric power plant, which allowed power to become a practical part of American households.