Mario Cuomo visited Albion in 1990 to kick off canal season

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 January 2015 at 12:00 am

ALBION – When the Erie Canal opened each spring, former Gov. Mario Cuomo visited a different canal community annually for a kick-off ceremony to start the canal season. In 1990, Cuomo picked Albion for the canal opening ceremony.

Cuomo, the governor from 1983 to 1994, died on Thursday at age 82.

When he was in Albion, local artist Arthur Barnes presented artwork to the governor of a scene in Eagle Harbor. Cuomo told Barnes that the scene from Orleans County would go in the Governor’s Mansion, where there is a scene from each of the state’s 62 counties hanging on the walls.

“Being suspicious of politicians I had my doubts,” Barnes posted on Facebook on Saturday. “But on a visit to the mansion my friend Bob Waters checked into it. Sure enough, it was there. It hung there until Cuomo left office. When the new governor came in it was taken down and kindly returned to me.”

Barnes would meet Mario Cuomo’s son Andrew years later. Barnes gave the younger Cuomo the artwork and asked that he give it back to Mario Cuomo.

“Not sure where my ink drawing titled ‘Spring Time on the Erie Canal’ is now,” Barnes said. “I’m hope it’s being appreciated somewhere.”