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The Lyons class of 2017 marched down the newly formed concrete path by the Erie Canal straight to work on a Peppermint Garden.  The garden, which is 30 feet long, was a class project that spawned from a need to assist our local boaters.

Welcome committee, Bob Stopper and Jack McCranels, met with the class in the early spring to talk about the feedback received by boaters who have visited Lyons.  A common question asked by the boaters was "Where's the peppermint?"

Lyons, once a renowned Peppermint Capital of the World, is the home of the H.G. Hotchkiss Essential Oil Company that once used the historic Erie Canal as a major means of transportation.  Peppermint was brought in and sent out by barges worldwide.  When the Hotchkiss plant closed, the supply of peppermint became rarely seen and sought after in Lyons.

As the community had risen to the need of returning to its roots of supporting local economy and preserving history, ideas generated as to how to bring back the strength of the Erie Canal and the pride among the residents who lived here.

At such an important time in the uprising of the area, Eric Lewis, sixth grade teacher at Lyons Elementary School, saw an opportunity for his students to make a commitment to their community along with learning the importance of our own local history.  The seed had been planted and this class began showering the ideas of a peppermint meadow on the side of the canal bank.

With may setbacks due to inclement weather, the class kept forth with their plan.  And their patience endured as yesterday, the much anticipated planting day finally arrived!

Volunteers were on hand to assist the class with their project, offering tools, water for the plants, and refreshments for all.  A local farm had donated most of the peppermint plants for this venture.  And though the noon hour turned out to provide scorching sun and heat, it didn't slow them down from achieving their mission.

In talking with several of the children, pride in their project was overwhelming.  Not only could they describe the six different types of mint they were planting, but they were wise with useful tips of the mint from cooking to medicines.

And the planting of red and white pansies were also meaningful to them.  "They are the colors of peppermint candies", said sixth grader, Devon Franklin.  Another student, Hunter Arbogast explained to me that "because the peppermint grows so fast, we planted it in a zig-zag so it will spread and take over."   

At the end of the planting session, these fantastic young students cleaned up after themselves and returned to school knowing that their afternoon was a huge success.  They have contributed to their historic community and given the gift of beauty for all to enjoy.

Job well done Mr. Lewis and the Class of 2017!


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2 Comments to "Peppermint Garden on the Canal: A Minty Success!"

  1. David Hammond Said,

    Finally some peppermint in Lyons!
    Excellent job!

    Posted on Thu Jun 09, 09:48:00 AM EDT

  2. Videomark Said,

    There is also an interpretive mint garden at the Hotchkiss Building in Lyons.

    Posted on Thu Jun 09, 09:54:00 AM EDT


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