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Rochester's Rich History - History of the Barge Canal

The Barge Canal’s origin can be traced back to 1884 when one chamber of existing Enlarged Erie Canal Lock 50, just west of Syracuse, was lengthened to permit the passage of double long tows. For the next 20 years, additional enlargement projects would move forward in fits and starts. Finally, the vote to vastly enlarge the canal system was approved in 1903 and Teddy Roosevelt’s Ditch would be constructed from 1905 to 1918. The newly completed Erie Barge Canal was first filled with water on 10 May 1918 when workers dug through to the Genesee River at Rochester and officially opened for through traffic from Lake Erie to the Hudson River on 15 May 1918.  All this and more will be illustrated in a presentation by Tom Grasso, President Emeritus of the Canal Society of New York State, on Saturday September 15th at 1:00PM.

Thomas X. Grasso is one of 6 children born in Lackawanna, New York to Italian immigrant parents from Campania. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geology from the University of Buffalo and a Master Degree in Palaeontology from Cornell University in 1966.  In 1968 he joined the faculty of Monroe Community College in Rochester as Professor of Geology. He then Chaired the Geology Department from its formation in 1970. Grasso also served as President of the Canal Society of New York State for over 40 years, continuing to serve today as President Emeritus. Grasso was Co-Chair of the World Canals Conference held in Rochester, New York in September 2000, chaired the World Canals Conference in Rochester in 2010, and chaired the Barge Canal Centennial Celebration Committee that organized two public events in May 2018.

Saturday, September 15, 2018
1:00pm - 2:30pm
Central - Kusler-Cox Auditorium
Central Library
  Department - Local History & Genealogy  

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