New Niagara Falls plaque marks site of Cataract House, a pivotal Underground Railroad landmark

Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — A new plaque in Niagara Falls marks the spot where a hotel once served as an important stop on the Underground Railroad.

Thursday the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Commission unveiled the plaque, at the site of the former Cataract House on Buffalo Avenue. The luxury hotel was open from 1825 to 1945 not only catering to tourists but also serving as one of the “most important and significant locations in underground railroad activity.”

“These are stories of people, who aided freedom-seekers to get to the Canadian side, and that only happened here. Central to that network was the wait staff at the cataract house, who were all African American men, led by John Morrison at that time,” Saladin Allah, experience center specialist, NFURHC.

Morrison even ferried people across the river himself to freedom in Canada.

The Cataract House burned down in 1945 and was demolished a year later.

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