Myron Holley, namesake of canal village, is focus of historical program on Wednesday

Staff Reports Posted 14 June 2016 at 12:00 am

CLARENDON – The Clarendon Historical Society is hosting a program on Wednesday about a prominent canal builder and abolitionist.

Myron Holley was so esteemed that the the community of Saltport decided to change its name to Holley to honor him.

Richard O. Reisem wrote a book about Holley’s namesake called “Myron Holley: Canal Builder/Abolitionist/Unsung Hero.”  Reisem will talk about Holley’s life during a presentation at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the Clarendon Historical Society. The society is located at 16426 Fourth Section Rd., at the intersection of Route 31A and Church Street in Clarendon.

Reisem tells Myron Holley’s story in the context of the momentous historical events and movements that shaped his life, including the War of 1812, the building of the Erie Canal, and the struggle to abolish slavery.

Holley was a visionary who had a profound influence, changing the course of history in New York State and indeed the nation. Among Holley’s many achievements, he served as the Superintendent of Construction of the Erie Canal and founded the first Horticultural Society in Western New York, the First Unitarian Church in Rochester, and the anti-slavery Liberty Party.

Reisem explains how more than any other individual, Myron Holley enabled the monumental engineering feat of building the Erie Canal to be the success that dramatically changed American History.

Reisem is a graduate of Iowa State University where he studied architecture and journalism. During his 31-year career at Eastman Kodak, he was speech writer for six of the company’s CEOs. He also produced Kodak annual meetings, financial analysts’ presentations, photographic trade show events, new product announcements, and traveling multimedia programs. He was the author of a series of books on color photography.

He has written 15 books since his retirement in 1986. Reisem is an honorary trustee of the Landmark Society of Western New York, vice-president of the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery, and a former trustee of the Rochester Historical Society. For 16 years, he served on the Rochester Preservation Board, and was chair for four years.