Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Lockport is getting a little better at recognizing native sons for their contributions to the world, but we seem to be leaving one guy out of our tourist pamphlets.
Most people in Lockport are becoming familiar with the name William G. Morgan. He’s the guy that is credited with inventing the game of volleyball. He invented the game in Holyoke, Massachusetts, but he was born in Lockport, New York. That is not a bad guy to have listed in the “Lockport Map of the Stars,” but he isn’t who I am talking about.
Birdsill Holly was a creative genius who was born in Auburn, New York in 1820. He moved to Lockport in 1851 and set up a factory along the Erie Canal where he did all of the work he was remembered for. Holly invented a lot of things and died ranked only second behind Thomas Edison in the number of awarded patents.
The most famous thing Holly did was develop the foundation for the modern fire hydrant system. Lockport was one of the first cities in the world with modern fire hydrants, and that is pretty cool. That is still not the guy I am talking about though.
William Gregory is one of our very favorite sons, and for good reason. Gregory was born in Lockport and graduated from Lockport Senior High School in 1975. Twenty years later, Gregory was part of the crew of the space shuttle Endeavour. I will never forget the way which NASA allowed Mr. Gregory to speak to the students of Lockport Senior High School while he was on the shuttle. It was a moment that we should all be proud of and a moment that Lockport will never forget.
William Gregory will probably be remembered as one of the most significant Lockportians of all time. He has earned his spot on the Lockport visitor’s pamphlet along with acclaimed artist, and true Lockport treasure, Joe Whalen. But there is one guy that we always seem to forget when we are discussing famous people who were born in the city of Lockport.