By William “Skip” Deegans
Pictured is an undated photo of Kanawha Falls at Glen Ferris in Fayette County. Before the completion of Interstate 64, Greenbrier Valley residents passed this natural landmark on their way to Charleston on U. S. Route 60. Once you reached the falls, you knew you had finished the curvy highway over the Sewell Mountains. The rest of the trip to Charleston was relatively flat.
The first time non-Native Americans saw the falls was in 1671 when a British expedition led by Major Abraham Wood set out from Petersburg, Virginia, in a quest of discovering the South Sea. Accompanying Wood were Thomas Batts, Robert Fallam, and Native Americans as guides. Leaving on September 1, their journey took them through Monroe County and along the Greenbrier River. They reached the Kanawha Falls on September 17 and concluded the Great Kanawha River flowed into the South Sea. They even thought they saw a large bay down river from the falls, indicating the sea was not far from away. Running low on provisions, they headed for home not realizing Kanawha Falls was a great distance from any sea.