Tag Archives: Niagara River

Robert Moses’ Least Controversial Triumph

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robert mosesThe many controversies that surrounded Robert Moses during his long career as New York’s “Master Builder” were sharpened by his long battle with Jane Jacobs and by Robert Caro’s 1974 biography, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (1974).

But his least contentious achievements are also the most unknown: the construction of the New York Power Authority’s hydroelectric plants along the St. Lawrence and Niagara Rivers. Continue reading

Bruce Dearstyne on the State History Conference

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unnamed27-300x136The annual New York State History Conference, held at the end of June at Niagara University, demonstrated once again the robust diversity of the state’s historical community and its research, projects, and initiatives. There were many interesting sessions but I wanted to share impressions of five particularly interesting and important themes.

Cooperation. Paul D’Ambrosio, President of the New York State Historical Association, in welcoming conference attendees, emphasized the essential role of cooperation in sponsoring, organizing, and managing the conference. Continue reading

A Short Biography of Engineer Benjamin Prescott

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Pipes of the Albany Water Works excavated by Wolfert Roost CC circa late 1980s002The Wolfert’s Roost Country Club in Albany maintains a small dam, pond, and pump house to provide water for their golf course. In the 1980s workers excavating the pond, which is fed by the Maezlandtkill, discovered several sections of ancient wooden and very early cast iron pipe along with iron bands. The pipe and other artifacts were placed in the woods near the club’s tennis courts and forgotten.

Benjamin Prescott, engineer of Albany’s first municipal water system and the man responsible for those pipes, is all but equally forgotten, despite an illustrious career in engineering.  Prescott served as an Engineer in the American Revolution, Superintendent of the Springfield Armory, and was the designer of several notable projects, including one of this nation’s first inclined planes (on the Connecticut River). He also conducted a 1790s survey of Niagara Falls, consulted on the Erie Canal, designed the Troy Sloop Lock (the Federal Dam) and more. Continue reading

2011 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Travel Mag Available

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The 2011 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Travel Magazine is now available with stories on wineries, the War of 1812, and enjoying a scenic drive on the 518-mile National Scenic Byway that parallels the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, the Niagara River, and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania.

Photographs; a calendar of 110-plus events; a directory of attractions, accommodations and services; and the GPS coordinates for more than 100 Great Lakes Seaway Trail “outdoor storyteller” interpretive signs are also included in the 64-page, full-color magazine.

The front cover of the 2011 edition of the annual glossy travel magazine features a tour boat approaching Boldt Castle in the 1000 Islands region of the byway.

The back cover invites travelers to go geocaching on the byway to collect five elegant Great Lakes Seaway Trail collectible geocoins.

Great Lake Seaway Trail Director of Business Relations Kurt Schumacher says the travel magazine is now reaching new markets.

“In addition to finding the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Travel Magazine at our member sites along the byway, distribution for the guide now includes high-traffic information and welcome centers on interstate routes in New York and Pennsylvania; locations in Kingston, Niagara Falls, Ottawa, and Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and AAA offices in Ohio,” Schumacher says.

The Great Lake Seaway Trail Travel Magazine is also included in Relocation Readiness packets for soldiers arriving at Fort Drum, NY, and in physician recruiting packets developed by Oswego Health, which operates Oswego Hospital, a skilled nursing facility, and a retirement living site in Oswego, NY.

A digital version of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Travel Magazine is online at www.seawaytrail.com/travelmagazine.

Niagara Falls State Park Celebrates 125 Years

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The nation’s oldest state park, Niagara Falls State Park, celebrated its 125th Anniversary this week with a concert by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on Goat Island and the dedication of a restored pocket park.

On July 15, 1885 then Governor David Hill dedicated the land and created Niagara Falls State Park. Created to protect its natural beauty from the continued industrialization of the river and to allow public access to its scenery, Niagara Falls became a blueprint for public parks across the country-both state and national parks. Eight million people now visit Niagara Falls each year, making it the most popular park in the New York State Park system.

Ancestors of Thomas V. Welch, the first superintendent of Niagara Falls State Park and a member of the Free Niagara Movement, were on hand to dedicate Heritage Park which is the site of a renovated pocket park just outside of Niagara Falls State Park. The park which serves as a connection for visitors between the city and the park is now the home of several plaques and markers from historical events and figures of Niagara Falls State Park. New pavers were also installed and landscaping was done by volunteers from the community.

Anniversary events continue through the reminder of the year including the “History Comes Alive” program where historical figures including Annie Edson Taylor, Frederick Law Olmsted, Nikola Tesla, Father Louis Hennepin and others who spent time at Niagara Falls State Park share their stories of the park with visitors. See www.niagarafallsstatepark.com for a full listing of events.

Registration for 5th Canal Splash! Now Open

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The New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Parks & Trails New York have announced that the Fifth Annual Canal Splash! will take place during the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. This year’s Canal Splash! will offer a series of locally organized events designed to highlight the history, beauty, culture and recreational appeal of the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail.

Any Canal Corridor community, business, club or non-profit organization may participate in the Canal Splash! and may register its event at www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/special-events/splash/index.html. Examples of local events include, but are not limited to, nature or history walks along the Canal or Canalway Trail; museum gallery features or exhibits; group bicycle rides on the Canalway Trail; rowing regattas; Canalside business or restaurant specials; kayak or canoe tours; cruise boat tours; Canal festivals, concerts and more.

The Canal Corporation encourages those along the Canal to help create awareness and generate additional exposure for their communities, businesses or events by participating in this year’s Canal Splash!. Last year’s Canal Splash! featured more than 120 events and attracted tens of thousands of visitors during the three day, multi-location celebration.

Canal Splash! will be promoted through a printed guide that will be distributed widely during July and August and will drive people to the online listing. In order to gain maximum exposure, it is encouraged that events be registered no later than June 3, 2010 to be included in the printed guide.

For more information about the Fifth Annual Canal Splash! or to register an event, please refer to www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/special-events/splash/index.html or contact the New York State Canal Corporation at (518) 436-3055.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture.