Byway “Genealogy”

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Byway “Genealogy”

It’s totally amazing how things all come together some days. Some other culture might call is “yin and yang”. The Mohawk that inhabited this valley when the Dutch settled here had a name for it. But of such things I am only an infant.

Fred Miller spoke at Rotary this morning. It was a pleasant surprise on top of a very pleasant bike ride in early morning mists. You know Fred Miller, right? He was the executive director of the Mohawk Valley Heritage Area Commission when he assigned Barbara Henderson to the task of developing a corridor management plan for a new concept at the time: the Mohawk Towpath Byway. Ahh! Barbara Henderson, you certainly remember her. She is the “Mother of the Byway”. Yes, Barbara is the one who by hook or by crook (maybe a few cookies now and then) brought us all together to put “flesh” on the vision of a road that tells the story of “the waterway west”.

This morning Fred talked about heritage and the need to preserve our heritage and pass it on to the next generation. Few communities on this side of the Atlantic Ocean have more history than we do right in the eastern Mohawk Valley. Just yesterday afternoon Brookfield Power in cooperation with the City of Cohoes and its citizens added a new kiosk to the Falls View Park. What area landmark has more connection with the Native American story than Cohoes Falls?

After breakfast Eric Anderson showed me the rendition of the new banner that will be on display at Shenendehowa Rotary’s Car and Craft show on June 4 at HealthPlex on Route 9, Halfmoon. The banner’s message is, “Shenendehowa Rotary – on the Erie Canal”. Talk about “branding” opportunities. What better way to pass along our heritage than this… little steps at a time. Whether you are helping Interact clean up the shoulders of Riverview Road, one of Clifton Parks earliest highways, or whether designing a new Rotary banner, its all a part of passing on the heritage.

And yes, heritage tourism is on its way. Thank you Fred for your example! Hershey, PA attracts thousands each year with thousands of thousands in revenue. We have a short Byway with a long history. We have so much more to offer. The quote of the day, though, has to be, “…and if they [meaning Hershey] didn’t have the history they made it up.”

Visit the Mohawk Towpath Byway and experience your heritage now that you know a bit more about the Byway’s “Genealogy”. Visit Rotary to balance your “yin and yang”. As a parting note I have never asked Barbara Henderson which was more painful child birth, or giving birth to the Byway. Is this the time?

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