A Short History of the Historical Society

The Lock 52 Historical Society was formed in 1979, after the committee that had worked on the 1976 Bicentennial felt that the village and town should have it's own organization working on historical matters. The funds that were left over were donated to the new organization, and it took the name of the local Erie Canal Lock that sat along the NYS Thruway, Lock 52. The group met in local halls, mostly in the village offices, and worked on preservation of local history and offering of programs. The group was very active in the saving of the Erie Canal Trail between Port Byron and Weedsport, with the group from Weedsport working west and the Lock 52 members working east. They cleared the trail and opened it to the public. It remained this way until the State cleared and widened years after.

In the early 1990's, the organization purchased the Moore house at 73 Pine Street, it's first real property purchase. This gave the group it's own home where they could collect artifacts and host programs. For years, Lock 52 held open houses as part of the Canal Days celebrations, as well as hosting school groups at Christmas time.

Over time, as people found more ways to be entertained, the role of the organization has shifted from programs to preservation and education. Using social media platforms, the group now has a couple blog posts, a YouTube channel, and a very active Facebook page. The collection of material has grown as people become aware of the role of the Society in the community.

Membership is open to anyone who has a interest in local history. A yearly membership is $10 for a single or $15 for a family. Your membership helps us support the house at 73 Pine, our collection, and our social media outlets.

 

What We Do

Tourism

Our little home on Pine Street is open limited hours, or by request. But if you are interested in the history of Port Byron, why not go out and see it? On this site, you will find two interactive maps, one with a tour of Port Byron, and one with a tour of our section of the Canalway Trail. Look for these on the menu above. We also have a lot of social media on Facebook, YouTube, and Blogger. Our YouTube channel has home movies from the 1940’s and 50’s, as well as current videos that will help you explore sites around the village and in Montezuma. The Blogger sites, both the Lock 52 Historical Society site and the Cayuga County Canal Tours site, will help you find and understand our past.

Collections

We are a 501c3 Not-For-Profit, chartered by the New York State Educational Department to be the historical society for Port Byron and Mentz. As a result, we are governed by the State in the way we collect artifacts from the public. Once you give us something, it cannot be sold without a very formal process by the board. It is our mission to serve as the “communities attic”. We accept all donations as long as they pertain to the history of Port Byron and Mentz. We collect photos, papers, and small artifacts. If you want to share,while you retain the originals, we take digital copies. Just please save it as a large file. A tiff file is best, but a large multi-megabyte jpeg is also fine. We can scan and return your photos. The collection helps to tell the story of the people and events that made up life in our neighborhood. And if it does not fit into our collection, we can guide you to the correct place to donate to.

Research

Are you doing research on a long lost family member or other historical event? Our growing collection contains surname files, photos, artifacts, family histories, tax records, and cemetery records.

contact us

Street Address- 73 Pine St, Port Byron, NY 13140

Real Mail- POB 302, Port Byron, NY 13140

Phone- (315) 704-8874

Email- lock52hs@gmail.com

You Can Help

We hate to ask, but every membership not-for-profit needs members and donations. Aside from the great help from our Town and Village, the only way we get the money we need to keep the house in repair, save the collection, and do all this reaching out, is through donations. As an example, we spent hundreds of dollars converting the films we found into digital files, and then we posted all of it on our YouTube channel where you can view it for free. So if you enjoy what we do, think about making a small or large donation to help us. Membership is $10 a year, or $15 for a couple. You can either use the PayPal button or send a check to the contact address.