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“These Men Were Prophets!” » William Crawford Barry

William Crawford Barry (1847-1916) was eldest son of Patrick Barry and joined the family’s Nursery Business while at the same time becoming one of the country’s more prominent horticulturists.

A dedicated member of Rochester’s First Park Commission, “William C. Barry, a younger member of the nursery firm and a great lover of the out-of-doors, was destined to play an important role as chairman for many years of the Highland Park committee….Horticultural developments were fostered throughout these years by William C. Barry and by the close relationship maintained with the Arnold Arboretum. Professor Sargent and his able assistant, Dr. E. H. Wilson, were frequent visitors, encouraging the develop¬ment here of complete collections of all known varieties of flowering shrubs acclimated to this area. The Highland collection of American hawthorns soon excelled all rivals, while the lilacs continued to grow in numbers and maturity until they won acclaim as the finest in America, attracting a record crowd of 25,000 to view them on Lilac Sunday in 1908. The azalea, rhododendron, and peony displays, which followed the lilacs each year, kept the park alive with color. “
From: An Historical View of Rochester’s Parks and Playgrounds By Blake McKelvey in Rochester History Volume XI No.1 January 1949

At the time of his death a Rochester daily said of him editorially, in part:
“Rochester has sustained a great loss in the death of William C. Barry Few of her citizens have displayed more public spirit than he. He was connected with almost every public movement of importance in the city for many years. His name was so familiar on the lists of committees that the omission of it was more noteworthy than was the presence of it. One of the city’s leading business men and bankers, he contributed much to the material prosperity of Rochester and aided in her development His interests were not confined to the great nursery firm of which he was president but included banking and real estate development. His activity in the development of the park system of the city was one of the strong factors in making the system what it is…one of the finest Park Systems in the United States…..” His interest ” of the enthusiast for plants and flowers and he did much to make life more beautiful for all by his work in aiding in the development of new varies of flowers”
From: History of the Genesee Country Volume 3 -1925

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