Tuesday, May 10, 2011
MEMORIAL DAY REMEMBRANCE & TRAIL DEDICATION
This site is adjacent to the towpath head located at what was the junction point of the Erie Canal and Cayuga-Seneca Canal. The remains of an abutment that held the crossover bridge which allowed drivers and teams to navigate between the canals are along the bank of the Erie Canal and site. The historic Exchange Hotel was built on this lot Circa 1830 and burned in 1918.
Byron served as Town Supervisor from 1966 to 1975. During that time he worked to acquire 136 acres of property with help of funding through the Outdoor Recreation Development Bond Act and Water Conservation Act of 1965. The site contained several historic sites of early Erie Canal history and natural resources along the Seneca River and adjacent to the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. He also was instrumental in acquiring public water for the Town of Montezuma during his tenure. Byron was a Army veteran of World War II and received a Silver Metal. He also was one of the early commanders of the VFW. Following his service as town supervisor, he was killed in a tragic muckland farming accident. His wife, Agnes is a lifelong resident and one of our oldest residents who resides in town at age 94.
Guest speakers for the trail dedication will include former town lawyer Peter Corning who assisted Byron with the legal aspects of acquiring the eight parcels; Mike Riley, Canal Society of New York; Town Supervisor, John Malenick; and a Proclamation presented by Cayuga County Legislator David Axton. Members of the Port Byron Band will play music throughout the event. The VFW Men's Auxiliary will hold a Chicken BBQ from 11 AM - ? The Thurston-Schramm-Reynolds Post 8137, Ladies & Men Auxiliary and AMVETS Post 513, and the Montezuma Historical Society contributed the plaque to be placed on the historic stonework of the crossover bridge abutment which will officially be named the Byron Lapp Memorial Trail at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
This signifies an important turning point for Montezuma in building of a greater sense of community by preserving the land which defines us, on which lives, livelihoods, and legacies were grounded. According to Senator George I. Mitchell in the Forward of a book about communities called Groundswell, "the passion for 'place' that defines a community is often the key element for achieving surprising agreement and positive results."
Join us in honoring those who have served our country, gave their lives for our freedom, and for Byron's work to preserve this important piece of history!