Community Hoped “Frog-Breeding, Health Menacing Open Ditch” Would Become Holley Terminal

Revisiting Old Orleans, Vol. 2, Issue 1

In February of 1913, State Engineers visited Holley to inspect the Erie Canal as a possible location for a terminal; officials were accompanied from Rochester by Assemblyman Marc Wheeler Cole. After taking taxis to Brockport, the group boarded the B.L.&R. Trolley, eventually arriving at the Holley lift bridge. The State Engineer noted that the only potential location for a terminal was this small stretch of vertical wall, which was likely too small to serve in that capacity.

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The community urged officials to consider the old canal basin as a suitable location, bringing the canal closer to the downtown business district. Other community members hoped that the development of the old basin would transition it from an “unsightly, frog breeding, health menacing open ditch, which it would become with the waste water which has hitherto filled it…” Soon after the State sought bids to complete the work on this new terminal, to which Fred H. Rhodey was awarded the contract after bidding approximately $967 to finish the job; other bids were estimated at over $1,000.

This location now serves as the center of Holley’s beautiful canal park, a far shot from the old “unsightly…health menacing open ditch” that the community fought to prevent. Visible at the center of the old image is the B.L.&R. Trolley station. The relatively new lift bridge, at that time, existed along a stretch of embankment with minimal foliage growth; later photographs taken from the bridge show a number of terminal buildings at this location.