When the Montezuma Historical Society formed, a vision was created around the importance of educating and inspiring the Community to share our history and the importance of its Erie Canal Heritage. Seven years later that vision has grown with the renewed interest in Erie Canal history. Because of this, the focus of much of our historical education and programming has revolved around the historic resources of 160-acres of parkland that was acquired by the Town in 1965.
The Montezuma Town Board appointed a Design Committee to help with plans for development of the park in 2010, and most of the members of this committee also serve as board members of MHS. In 2012, the next step was to form a Friends of the Montezuma Heritage Park group under the Society’s not-for-profit organization. Much has been accomplished as a result of a the tremendous effort invested by this dedicated, all-volunteer group to help our community develop the park and bring our heritage back to life.
There are now eleven connecting nature trails located along interpreted historic sites of the Erie and Cayuga-Seneca Canal in various stages of development. The remains of the magnificent Richmond Aqueduct, second largest aqueduct on the Enlarged Erie Canal, can be visited along the original towpath trail. Enjoy walking, biking, cross-country skiing, bird watching and fishing. Future plans include enhancing and extending the trail system from the hamlet, a kayak launch, picnicking, and a handicap accessible trail and boardwalk extending from the new lookout deck in the marsh area.
The Montezuma Historical Society Friends of the Park received funding to create a logo, produce a brochure and a portfolio of historic photos and maps from Parks and Trails, New York funded by the Healthy Heart Program of NYS Department of Health. This is being used with historic walking tours offered in the park. A copy of the Heritage Park Brochure may be downloaded or may be picked up at the trailhead kiosks at either location on High Street or Chapman Road. Each of the seven trails now open are located on the park map and describes the many historic sites located along each trail.
The portfolio is being used on historic walking tours to increase understanding of how the New York State Canal System has evolved since this engineering marvel began construction in 1817.
To join this grass-roots Friends Group or volunteer sign up today!