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Croton Officials Dedicate "Echo Canoe Launch" in Honor of Theodore J. Cornu

September 20, 2006

Wouldn’t you like to be an “Echo” too? Well, thanks to the hard work started by former Croton resident Jon Goplerud and finished by Joe Biber and the Croton Conservation Advisory Council (CAC), anyone can be an “Echo” now.

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
The “Echo Canoe Launch” plaque (1 of 10).

Over the years, both Jon and Joe, past and present members of the CAC, gathered community volunteers to clean and landscape the canoe launch area to restore its natural beauty. Much of the work was done by young and old residents during successive Earth Day clean up days that continue to be held each Spring. And each year, CAC member Bruce Laemmel of Laemmel’s Landscaping coordinated a delivery of botanical donations that continue to thrive and provide beautiful accents to the area.

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
A man, the plaque and the Croton River (2 of 10).

So after a culmination of community outreach and volunteerism, the CAC enlisted the help of artist Elton Robinson to design a plaque made from both original drawings and the text of the “Echo” pledge by Croton’s first environmentalist, Theodore Cornu.

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
Trustee Charlie Kane (L) in conversation with Ed Rondthaler (R) (3 of 10).

On Saturday, September 16, 2006, CAC members, Croton officials and residents alike gathered (press release) at the launch with centarian Ed Rondthaler to honor the environmental work of the late Theodore Cornu with the plaque and dedicate the area in his memory by naming it “Echo Canoe Launch.”

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
Trustee Leo Wiegman (L) and Rick Turner (R) port a canoe to the “Echo Launch” (4 of 10).

The dedication, which lasted about and hour, included pointed words from CAC Chair Joe Biber, a fronting Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt, Croton River Council founder and Trustee Charlie Kane, and Ed Rondthaler—a friend of the late Theodore Cornu—who reflected on times gone by. It was Mr. Rondthaler who to closed the ceremonies by signing copies of the “Echo” pledges for participants to bring home and share with others.

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
CAC Chair Joe Biber (5 of 10).

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt (R) and Trustee Liason to the CAC Charlie Kane (6 of 10).

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
Ed Rondthaler (7 of 10).

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
The Croton River Estuary, photo by Olivia W. (8 of 10).

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
Left to right: Rick Turner, Trustee Charlie Kane, Trustee Leo Wiegman & Mayor Dr. Gregory Schmidt with their signed “Echo” pledges (9 of 10).

Echo Canoe Launch dedication on the Croton River
Ed Rondthaler personalizing the “Echo” pledge certificates (10 of 10).

Text of the “Echo” pleadge: During his youth in New York City, Theodore J. Cornu (1884-1986) rescued a damaged canoe from the wreckage of a hardware store’s fire and laboriously repaired it. For several summers he and a friend camped alongside Indian Brook at its confluence with the Croton River. During his college years at Cooper Union he had become a skilled artist, and his own research made him an authority on Indian history. With pen drawings of the river in its pristine Indian days, he aroused an indifferent public into action against the railroad’s pollution. With characteristic originality he urged all citizens to become lifetime “Echoes” of the Hudson Valley by pledging, whenever and wherever the opportunity arose, to “save and faithfully defend from waste and pollution the natural resources of our country.” As the Hudson and its Croton tributary again sparkle with radiance and purity, we owe a salute to Theodore J. Cornu for his foresight and determination to restore our two rivers to their pristine glory.

Echo Canoe Launch Plaque
Drawing by Theodore Cornu.



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