Ah, the Genesee – the river, the valley, the beer. Everywhere you look in Rochester there is something “Genesee.” But have you ever stopped to think, “What is a Genesee?” How can it be a body of water, a song and a delicious ale all at once? Well, if there is someone out there that actually has thought about it, ponder no more. Next time you belt out our coveted alma mater – first and third verses only – you will know exactly what you’re singing about.

The word “Genesee” is derived from the Iroquois language meaning “good valley” or “pleasant valley.” The actual river is the most common association of the name “Genesee.” It flows throughout Western New York, beginning in the town of Genesee, Pa. and emptying into Lake Ontario.

What makes the Genesee unique is that it is one of the few rivers that flows from south to north.

According to an article published in the Times Union newspaper back in 1929, the river bank that is located just below Driving Park Bridge is commonly called Lover’s Leap.

An old Iroquois legend tells the story of a beautiful young woman who threw herself off the bank in order to escape an attack by warriors. The story goes that not long after, her lover lept after her.

For all you skeptics out there who think that the Genesee River is really just a toxic pool of flowing mud, you might be inspired to go grab a fishing rod and some bait after reading a bit further.

According to http://www.landbigfish.com, the sea life of the river includes Brown and Rainbow Trout, Chinook Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike and Walleye.

It is not, however, recommended that humans take to the water. That is why you won’t find too many college students bathing in the river.

I tell this to the poor freshman who fell in two years ago and kindly asked us not to tell anyone.



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