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CANAL TOUR OFFERS HISTORIC WALK

By the end of the month, tourists will see a unique side of the historic Erie Barge Canal sites -- including famous Locks 34 and 35 -- with the help of a novel tour to be dedicated today. The dedication will mark the 125th anniversary of the city's incorporation in 1865 and the 165th anniversary of canal construction in 1825. The 3/4 -mile walking tour is dubbed "Riley's Way" in honor of City Historian William M. Riley, 67, of 100 Grant St., who said he has "been working on the project for about two years and thinking about it for many more than that."

The dedication in front of the Lockport Municipal Building will begin at 1 p.m. The first of 14 metal signs perched atop posts have been erected along the tour.

The signs detail historic facts about canal development in the area. Riley said 10 of the signs have been erected and the "rest should be finished by the end of the month."

"I'm very honored, very proud and very grateful," said Riley, a retired supervisor for Bells stores in Lockport, Amherst and Cheektowaga. "It has taken money and many hours of volunteer effort by many, many workers."

Riley said the signs will depict what the area "looked like years ago." The walk, he said, requires "a little over and hour to walk the tour from the Municipal Building to Upson Park."

Some key tour points include the original locks that lifted mule-drawn barges, views from Old City Hall on Pine Street, the Electric Building (once the city's tallest at seven stories) and the Upson Park "barge tie-up" area.

The project was funded through a $15,000 state grant and area businesses.

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