From Niagara Falls New York to Niagara Falls West Virginia

Having lived in Morgan County, West Virginia for more than thirty years, I hadn’t realized until last week that there is a Niagara Falls, West Virginia and it’s in Morgan County.

I was born and raised in Niagara Falls, New York. 

More than 3,000 tons of water flows over the Niagara Falls of my hometown every second.  

If it doesn’t rain for a couple of weeks, you won’t see much water, if any, flowing over Niagara Falls, West Virginia.

But there is some fascinating history surrounding Niagara Falls, West Virginia.

On January 12, 1977, Larry Parker gunned down West Virginia State Troopers Thomas D. Hercules and Charles H. Johnson and then fled his home into the woods outside of Paw Paw. 

According to a story in the Washington Post, snow was falling and law enforcement followed Parker’s footsteps to “a waterfall known locally as Big Niagara at the foot of Shanty Hollow.”

“As six officers stood atop the frozen waterfall, Parker was hiding in a cave underneath it,” the Post reported. “At 2:26 (Friday January 14), as police closed in, they heard a shot. Then they smelled gunpowder. Parker had turned his high-powered hunting rifle on himself and shot once, through the heart.”

Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer led an effort in 2013 to dedicate a portion of U.S. 522 in Berkeley Springs to the two officers.

Bohrer was a senior at Berkeley Springs High School when the state troopers were shot and killed. He was good friends with Johnson and went to high school with the sons of Hercules, according to a 2013 report in the Martinsburg Journal. 

“I had wanted to be a policeman since I was in the third grade,” Bohrer told the Journal. “I hung out with those guys and rode with the guys, and it made me want to become a policeman even more.”

In 2014, thanks to Bohrer’s efforts, a section of U.S. 522 south of Berkeley Springs was dedicated to the two officers.

Mary Hott, who grew up in Paw Paw, says that the falls was a destination spot for locals to have a place to hike to.

“It was a Paw Paw thing,” Hott said. “It was something that people did. E.C. Pickle Kline owned the local grocery store and the Kline family owned the property that the falls was on.”

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