Last week, the Holland Land Office Museum announced the first "thing" to make the list of the "Twenty-Five Things That Made Genesee County Famous," a six-month countdown of the oddities, happenings, dudes, dames, places and episodes in history that put our lovely county on the map — and you thought a cartographer did that, ha ha ha.
Some of us were a little surprised to find that the New York State Thruway eked its way onto the list, even if it was onto the bottom rung of the ladder. I don't know about the rest of you, but whenever I hear "thruway," I tend to cringe. I remember that it costs about a buck and a quarter to get from Henrietta to Batavia on that gum-stained stretch of barren road that has about as much of a personality as a sleeping Parisian. But even the not-so-pretty things sometimes warrant a niche in our collective history. Take Louis XIV, for example.
So... what is Number 24, you ask? Or should we say who?
Why, it's none other than Mr. John Kennedy, that paragon of pedagogy, that eponymous father to Batavia's grade school, that Englishman turned Midwestern calvaryman who came to Batavia in 1890 to take over as superintendent of schools.
As HLOM Director Patrick Weissend writes of Kennedy: "Visitors to Genesee County often think the elementary school on Vine Street in the City of Batavia is named after the 35th President of the United States, but even the kindergarteners attending the school will correct you and tell you its “JK” not JFK."
Be sure to visit the Holland Land Office Museum Web site to keep up with the other 23 "things" forthcoming. And be sure to check back with The Batavian next Friday to hear about Number 23.