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'Key to Locks' Award honors late history and tourism advocate Dianne Koplas

by jmaloni


Thu, Mar 26th 2015 06:55 pm

City of Lockport Mayor Anne McCaffrey will present the 10th annual "Key to the Locks" Award to honor Lockport's Dianne Koplas, Saturday, May 9. Koplas, who passed away in 2014, was a driving force behind many programs that promoted tourism and the history of Lockport, the Erie Canal and the Lockport locks.

Koplas was instrumental in developing tours of First Presbyterian Church's Tiffany windows and architectural and trolley tours of historic Lockport. As a Niagara History Center volunteer, she and fellow volunteer Lois Begley created the center's "Step Back in Time Players," a re-enactor troupe representing famous Lockportians of the past. Koplas also was a past president of the History Center's board of directors.

She and her family created the Koplas Lecture Series, honoring the memory of her late husband, John, to sponsor annual speakers at the Lockport Public Library. This will now be renamed the John and Dianne Koplas Lecture Series.

The "Key to the Locks" Award was established to recognize persons in Niagara County who exemplify the community spirit or promote the heritage or preservation of the historic Erie Canal.

A partial list of previous winners includes Rosemary Bernard, for her continuing efforts to educate the community about the history of the Erie Canal; David Kinyon, for his promotion of the Flight of Five project; Carol Schmelz, for her work in establishing the Canalway Trail through Pendleton; artist Joe Whalen, for a lifetime of showcasing the Canal through his paintings; Jeffery Degnan, for his work in promoting the Erie Canalway Corridor; and Jane Whitmore, for beautification work along the historic Lockport locks.

The "Key to the Locks" award ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 9, in the Erie Canal Discovery Center, 24 Church St., Lockport.

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