Richmond Aqueduct

Richmond Aqueduct
Second Largest Aqueduct Built on the Enlarged Erie Canal (1856-1917)

Friday, May 27, 2011


Above: Town Supervisor John Malenick, his friends from Oswego, Chris and Josh, and Stan Longyear work on the landscaping for the Byron Lapp Memorial Trail Dedication on Monday. A plaque donated by the Thurston Schramm-Reynolds VFW Post 8137, Mens & Ladies Auxiliary, AM VETS, War Dads and the Montezuma Historical Society will be placed on the stone that was part of the crossover bridge at this Erie Canal Site. 

Below:  Dan Randolph and Stan Longyear, long time Scout buddies from their youth, and both veterans of Viet Nam dig holes for a sign donated by Farm Boy Graphics.

What does Hoopes Park have in common with Heritage Park?

I read with interest Carmen Cosentino's article about Hoopes Park in today's Citizen.  The title of the article is "The park that almost wasn't." I thought for a minute he must be writing about the Montezuma Heritage Park. 

He was writing about the Memorial Day second annual Healing Field, Field of Hopes and Dreams event sponsored by St. Joseph's School. To think, that the Hoopes Park almost didn't happen and what everyone whose ever enjoyed that beautiful park in Auburn would have missed.
I used to go there on my lunch hour never knowing that one day I would be involved with a park project in my hometown town. Would you believe that Hoopes Park was once a rubbish and ash dumping ground before the days of landfills?  So was the old Erie Canal and Dry Dock Basin area in the land that Byron Lapp helped the town acquire back in the 1960s and 1970s. We could have ended up with never having access to this beautiful historic area.  Herman Hoopes donated land back in the 1920s to be turned into a park." It took several years of hearings, meetings and arguing." Carm says, "Sound familiar?"  I can't help but wonder again, "Is he talking about Auburn or Montezuma?"  

I guess there will always be those nay-sayers who are afraid of change; who can't see the importance of our heritage. We're not talking a million-dollar park here. We're talking simple historic trails, to preserve our heritage, and  to enjoy the beauty of the natural resources that we in this rural area of the Finger Lakes can so quickly take for granted. We talking about pride in our community. The same pride that the soldiers have who go to war for their country and proudly serve. 

This day is dedicated to those who gave their life, and to the beauty of parkland, and to Byron Lapp who worked so hard to preserve it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Heritage Park Design Committee Meeting (HPDC)

There will be a HPDC meeting on Thursday, May 26 at 7 PM at the Town Hall.  Anyone interested is welcome to attend. 

I have updated this blog (click on the new page links at the top of the page) to introduce you to our committee and describe the conceptual plan and trail system the committee has been discussing for the park. Mike Riley has created this as a working document for the basis of our action plan.

The dedication of the first trail in memory of Byron Lapp will be held on Memorial Day, May 30th with the program starting at the VFW at 2 PM.  Chicken BBQ by the Men's VFW Auxiliary from 11-?
(more details on the blog post below)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


The Town of Montezuma Highway employees, Jeff Dawson and Denny Lapp, Jr, have at demolished an old shed that remains on the historic property recently purchased by the Town of Montezuma just north of the firehouse on High Street.  Two old trailers have been removed and a stone from the crossover bridge has been placed along the trail as a marker in preparation for a Memorial Day Trail Dedication Ceremony.

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. 

 On Monday, May 30th at 2 PM, the Montezuma Thurston-Schramm-Reynolds VFW will join with the Montezuma Historical Society for a traditional service to honor a National Remembrance of those who have died in service to their country.  As part of the Memorial Day event, the Town of Montezuma will recognize former town supervisor, Byron Lapp, for his dedication in service to his country and community. He is being honored by naming the first trail in Montezuma Heritage Park.

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!