A Geneseo Diary
by Trevor Turpin
New York to Rochester on the Maple Leaf from Penn Station NY.
Met at Rochester Station by Becky Lewis (Assistant Provost, International Programs at SUNY) and transported to Geneseo, some 25 miles south.
Check in at Big Tree Inn built in 1833 in Main Street, Geneseo, one of only 20 or so towns on the US Heritage list.
Meet Carol Long, Interim President, SUNY.
Arrive on Campus
10.00. Meet Liz Argentieri (Special Collections Librarian) at Milne Library archives with Richard Young (Professor Geological Sciences).
Explore literature, records and maps related to Seneca Nation, Genesee River, land use and white settlement and control, Mount Morris dam and river management.
17.00 Dinner at Linwood Gardens http://www.linwoodgardens.org/Home.html …
… hosted by Becky and husband Roger with neighbours Clare and Carl (artists/potters), and Dan DeZarn, SUNY Director of Sustainability. Discussion about NYS attitude to Fracking.
Visit to concrete dam in grounds – once the largest in the State
9.30. Milne Library
Research of Letchworth State Park and building of Mount Morris dam, assisted by Liz Argentieri.
14.00. Set up exhibition in Digital Seminar Room
15.00. Presentation of “above the Springs of Wandel” introduced by Carol Long, audience of about 100 people, mostly staff but some students (University between semesters). Meet Paul Schacht (Professor & Chair of English).
18.30. Dinner North Shore Grill, Conesus Lake with Carol Long (host) Richard Young, Becky Lewis, Dan DeZarn, Rachel Hall (Professor of English).
Becky, Carol, Dan, Trevor, Richard, Rachel, Barbara.
10.00. Integrated Science Center – meet with Richard Young and Amy Sheldon (Assistant Professor, Geology) – discuss local geology of the Finger Lakes and Genesee River.
13.00. Milne Library – read Mount Morris file of newspaper cuttings loaned from Livingston County Library via Liz Argentieri.
9.30. Milne Library Complete reading of Mount Morris dam file; given CD of interview with local newspaper editor of memories of the building of the dam – recalls option built in to convert to power/hydro dam.
12.30. Erie Canal cruise with Dan DeZarn. http://www.eriecanalway.org/
15.00. Meet with Ken Cooper (Associate Professor of English).
and Caroline Woidat (Associate Professor of English) and visit Genesee Canal/Subway and High Falls in Rochester. http://www.cityofrochester.gov/geneseeriver/
18.00. Dinner Genesee Brew House – view of High Falls.
Move to Country Inn, Mount Morris.
9.30. Meet Lisa Burns (Director, Outreach Programming SUNY)
and visit Mount Morris Dam, flood control dam, 1952. http://www.lrb.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/MountMorrisDam.aspx
10.00. Tour of dam with Dam Manager, Stephen Winslow.
14.00. Letchworth State Park guided by Doug Kelly Assistant Park Manager with colleagues Steph and Elijah. Visit monument to ‘Seneca’ Mary Jemison, and shown and discuss recreational and conservation management issues and facilities within the Park. http://www.letchworthpark.com/
10.00. Meet with Kristina Schofer, Manager of the Genesee Valley Greenway, established on towpath of Genesee Valley Canal (1840-78) and Pennsylvania Railroad (1862-1963). Visit Greenway through Portageville; discuss recreation and conservation issues and management of facility and opportunities.
14.00. Walking Greenway in Mount Morris
…and visit to Hydro dam in Mount Morris.
Transport to Rochester Station (Becky Lewis)
Gifts exchanged throughout! Material I couldn’t carry was sent by post after my return and I sent several copies of my book Dam (http://www.reaktionbooks.co.uk ) to various members of staff and the manager of Mount Morris dam.
Above: Becky, Carol, Dan, Trevor, Richard, Rachel, Barbara.
Observations and opportunities
Geneseo is a small campus with excellent facilities, helpful staff – and good sports facilities. It is a small town and while I visited between semesters, it was quiet.
Through my research, meetings and visits I am inspired to write a short paper on the Lost Waters of the canal and the threatened loss of the Genesee itself. Perhaps there could be a collection of Lost Waters ….