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Peppermint Days


In May of 1789 eleven settlers arrived by flat boat and built a log cabin where the outlet pours into the Ganargua Creek to form the Clyde River. In 1795 the new settlement was named Lyons and in 1796 Capt. Charles Williamson began laying out the Village with straight, wide streets centering on a public square. Thus our Village began.

The Erie Canal was completed in 1825, the enlarged Erie of 1850's was re-routed and today's Erie was dug early in the 1900's. In 1839 a gentleman by the name of Hiram G. Hotchkiss founded The Hotchkiss, International Prize Medal, and Essential Oil Co. and located his business on Water Street. By 1844 Hotchkiss employed over 100 people and produced more than 1,000 pounds of oil annually. By 1860 Mr. Hotchkiss produced over 1/3 of the Peppermint Oil in the United States and owned over 100 acres of Peppermint fields in Lyons Mr. Hotchkiss was internationally renowned as the leader of the peppermint oil industry. He was often called the Peppermint King! The Erie Canal was advantageous for shipping the distilled oil to New York and Europe. The oil sold for 55.25 per pound and at the time about 75X of the area's farmland was devoted to the cultivation of mints. One acre of land could yield from 12 to 15 pounds of oil.

H.G. Hotchkiss not only believed in presenting his excellent products in as elegant a form as possible, he also took great interest in his labels and bottles. Ely Glass Works of Clyde made special dark, blue bottles for H. G. and latter H. G. bought hand blown bottles from F. E. Reed Glass Co. of Rochester.

In 1963 Miss Anne D. Hotchkiss became President of Hotchkiss and remained the leader until it was sold and the business ended in 1990. In May of 1989, one hundred years after those first settlers arrived, a group of Lyons citizens decided to re-enact the settlement and hold a small festival. The event was so well received and enjoyed that those same citizens were asked if they could continue the event and perhaps make it an annual festival. Looking back out our Village's history it was decided that Peppermint, thanks to Mr. H. G.

Hotchkiss and his ancestors, had been one of the single most important products that had given Lyons it's unique history. Thus, Peppermint Days began and has continued each of these eleven years. The festivities are traditionally family oriented and are held around the central square where our Village began. Miss Anne D. Hotchkiss has very graciously allowed her family name to be used and associated with our festivities and has also served as our Grand Marshall for each year's parade.

We feel Lyons is truly a unique community. Each year the committee has added more and more to the festival and has drawn great number of people into our little Village of 4,500 citizens. Currently events are planned for three consecutive days. Saturday is our most fun-filled with vendors, entertainment a parade and fireworks. We are proud of our heritage and hope every who reads about us feel free to join us in each year as we celebrate our unique heritage.

Betsy McCranels
March 6, 2000


Interested in the upcoming Peppermint Days celebrations?

The Peppermint Days Committee meets the first Monday of every month at 6:30pm at the Lyons Community Center, or you can check out the Peppermint Days Facebook Page for current news and updates!


Areas of Interest
Hotchkiss Peppermint Building
Wayne County Museum
Taylor Park
South-Side Canal Park
Mural Mania
Farmers Market
Trail of Hope
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