Lyons, NY: The Schizophrenic City, Part 1, by The Evil Mr. Edward Hyde

Once home to the Peppermint King, now home to the county welfare agency, the county jail, and a few other undesirable attractions. Nothing really to remind us of its French namesake except two small converging streams.

Lyons, France and Lyons, Wayne County — whooda thunk it.  Yet somebody a long, long time ago thunk it, indeed, observing the waters of the Garnagua Creek and Canandaigua Outlet and thinking fondly of the Rhone where it meets the Saone. . . what drugs was he on?????

“One 21-ounce bottle will correctly flavor a ton of candy, said the Peppermint King.

Must have been all that peppermint. . . way too early for the meth and other synthetics that the kids on the old Courthouse steps trade their food stamps for.

Don’t be fooled by all that “Hall of Justice” stuff, although I’d rather take my chances there than in a town “justice court.”  In fact, if you ever are a victim of a certain Wayne County Justice Court, you will likely end up here, unless you prefer living with higher car insurance premiums (a seat belt conviction will do that, even if it is false).

Actually, you gotta feel kinda sorry for Lyons.  Being the county seat and all, it attracts a lot of the wrong kind of people (lawyers), whose cars take up all the parking around town so you can’t even see the good things, like the green or any of the old buildings.  But at least it keeps them out of our towns. . .

all over the streets

blocking the green

…stupid lawyers and their stupid cars, they’re everywhere!  You can’t walk three feet without tripping over one of ’em or the other.

The original Erie Canal,  as it once ran behind the Hotchkiss Peppermint building.  It was  filled in long ago. Photo courtesy of H20 Mike, blogger, “On the Road with the WCH, accessed 10-17-12.

Even though Lyons is older than the Erie Canal, it provided the town much opportunity for growth.

Used in the summer for pleasure craft, and used by the town during various tourist-enticing events. Otherwise, the barge canal remains pretty much untouched.

The barge canal, which replaced the old Erie, runs behind the village parallel with Route 31.

Some of the old warehouses still line Canal Street:

Some have been turned into nice apartments. 

some not so much

Lyons has certainly seen better days than these:   and these —

guest room?


But once you are out of the village (and who can’t wait for that to happen!!) you will see a different side of Lyons. . .

Nah, I think the only solution for Lyons Village is the front end of a bulldozer. . .

Part 2, coming up. . .


Lyons, NY: The Schizophrenic City, Part 2, by The Respectable Henry Jekyll, MD. With apologies to Robert Louis Stevenson.

about a mile outside Lyons Village–and it’s not raining, either.

Stuck in the middle of the Village of Lyons?  Boy, do I feel sorry for you!  But I have some advice — head north, either on Geneva Road or Route 14, and keep heading north til you clear the courthouse and the sides of the streets are no longer clogged with lawyer’s cars, and the 30 MPH speed limit signs change to 55, and you will be much safer and much happier in these next few miles of countryside that separate the Village of Lyons from Sodus, Lake Ontario, and the rest of us.

Beautiful to behold, but can be a traffic danger. . . watch the side of the road for horse droppings (no kidding), it’s a sure sign that you will soon encounter a slow-moving buggy.

I don’t think Lyons even knows (or cares) that there it has a “good part of town,” but maybe that’s what keeps it so good. . . it’s fairly unsettled, just dotted with a few dairy farms, which have attracted quite a few Amish farmers.

Barns *should* be red. Just like this.

Here is where you can get fresh produce grown without pesticides, and if you are respectful, you will get some great conversation as well.  A peaceful place to explore the countryside and remember how things used to be before plug-ins and apps.

The “rolling hills” that run parallel to each other are actually glacial formations called drumlins.  No fun in the villages, where they are just “hills” and get all cut up because they are inconvenient and in the way, but out in the country one can appreciate them more for the ancient land form that they are.

Good eggs at this place.  They aren’t Amish, so if you run out on a Sunday, you can get a dozen or so to get you by.

cut limestone quoins and lintels

Most people think the old cobblestone houses had something to do with the Erie Canal, but in truth they were made from stone gathered further north in Wayne County (the canal is about 15 miles or so south of the lake) .  The cobbles didn’t come from the canal, they came from the Lake Ontario shoreline or were gathered from the fields.  This one looks like red lake-washed stone with a cut fieldstone basement.

Just like they did it in the old days. . .

A sure sign that harvest is over:

It will be our little secret!

SHHHH!  Let’s just keep this our little secret. . . the worst thing that could happen is some lawyer tired of the commute from Canandaguia or Pittsford discovers this beautiful place and decides to invest in  a bunch of expensive homes  out here . . .ewwww!!!  So long as there’s no Trader Joe’s or Wegman’s, though, I think we’re safe. . .