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Retired lockmaster wins Lockport award

LOCKPORT – Joel Beyer, chief operator of the Erie Canal locks in Lockport for 37 years, was named Thursday as the winner of the 11th annual “Key to the Locks” award, presented by the Erie Canal Discovery Center each year to a local resident who promotes the canal.

Beyer will receive the award from Lockport Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey at 11 a.m. May 7 in a ceremony at the Discovery Center, 24 Church St., Lockport.

Beyer retired earlier this year after 42 years working on the canal. He became lockmaster in Lockport in 1979. Although it wasn’t a promotional job, Beyer spent years working with school groups, area residents and tourists, helping them understand the history and workings of the Canal and locks.

He played an important role in opening a museum at the foot of the locks, put in many hours of his own time on the upkeep and beautification of the public areas, and worked closely with the volunteers who operate the restored Flight of Five, the original 19th century locks.