Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Pomp, Circumstance, Before Lunch In Geneva

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Geneva a generation after Lafayette’s visit. Source: Barber, John W., and Howe, Henry, Historical collections of the state of New York, S. Tuttle, New York 1842, p. 52

General Lafayette rose the morning of Wednesday, June 8, 1825, shortly after sunrise. At 7 o’clock that morning, the French entourage bid John Greig adieu. They climbed aboard their waiting carriage and a military escort led them onto the old Genesee Road (and then the Seneca Turnpike). About ten miles down the road, at Ball’s tavern, they’d meet the committee from Geneva and transfer their precious cargo to them.1

For the good citizens of Geneva, the largest settlement in the Greater Western New York region, Lafayette was a long time coming. A couple of weeks before, the village appointed a committee of eleven upstanding men to invite the Nation’s Guest to visit their fair village. They drafted a letter dated May 28, 1825, for that purpose. Appealing to his sense of Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Pomp, Circumstance, Before Lunch In Geneva”

Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: The Great Central Trail Becomes The State Road

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Previous: Canandaigua Anxiously Waits Before Jubilation And An Elegant Supper

The Cayuga Bridge helped improve travel times on the Great Genesee Road, which eventually became Routes 5 & 20. Source: Barber, John W., and Howe, Henry, Historical collections of the state of New York, S. Tuttle, New York 1842, p. 79

As General Dwight D. Eisenhower led the Allied effort into the heart of the Nazi regime, he couldn’t help but notice the transportation infrastructure that strengthened the defense of his opponent. Hitler began construction of his Reichautobahn in the 1930s. Although designed primarily for civilian use, war reports during the Eisenhower’s push into Germany in 1944 and 1945 repeatedly referenced the autobahn, “Hitler’s Superhighway.”1

Impressed by these autobahns, Eisenhower proposed an interstate highway system once Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: The Great Central Trail Becomes The State Road”

Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Canandaigua Anxiously Waits Before Jubilation And An Elegant Supper

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Previous: John Greig Lives The American Dream

Canandaigua Hotel, not the original one that Lafayette visited, but the one that replaced it after the one once owned by William Blossom burned down in 1851. Source: History of Ontario County, New York With Illustrations, Everts, Ensign & Everts, Philadelphia, 1878, Plate X

The young boy was no different from anyone else in the town of Canandaigua. Anxious, fretting, full of anticipation, on the morning of Tuesday, June 7, 1825, they all waited for the word they knew was coming but feared it might not.

Located on the northern tip of the lake that bears its name, Canandaigua housed the first land office in Western New York. This former Seneca stronghold sat on the old Genesee Trail, or Central Trail, that cut through the heart of the Iroquois Confederacy. Today we know it as Routes 5 & 20. Back then it had various names, from the Great Genesee Road to the Seneca Turnpike to the Ontario and Genesee Turnpike. Whatever you called it, it was the road everyone heading east or west traveled on.

Lafayette would soon be one of those travelers.

Or would he?Continue Reading “Lafayette’s Farewell Tour: Canandaigua Anxiously Waits Before Jubilation And An Elegant Supper”

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