Current home of the giant Pep-o-Mint Lifesavers®
If you've driven through Gouverneur, you've surely seen it. A giant package of Pep-O-Mint Life Savers®, larger than life, right there on the village green. Maybe you've wondered... "What the heck is a giant package of Life Savers® candies doing there?" This very unusual monument is a tribute to a very interesting man, born in Gouverneur, named Edward John Noble. And Life Savers® are only a small piece of his story.
Edward John Noble (1882-1958) was born in Gouverneur, NY and educated in the public schools. He attended Syracuse University and graduated from Yale in 1905. He started the LifeSavers® Candy Company in 1913.
In 1912, chocolate manufacturer Clarence Crane, from Cleveland, Ohio, invented Life Savers® as a “summer candy” that could withstand heat better than chocolate. Crane was buying bottles of flavoring in a drug store one day when he noticed the druggist using a pill-making machine. It was operated by hand and made round, flat pills. Crane had his idea. The pill making machines worked fine for his mints, and he was even able to add the life preserver touch by punching a tiny hole in the middle. Crane called them LifeSavers®. They had an ironic popularity, since the Titanic had been lost in 1912. Crane's slogan: "For that Stormy Breath."
E.J. Noble was working for an advertising agency in New York City in 1913, when he "approached candy maker Clarence Crane with a proposal to promote more widely the latter's perforated peppermint candy. Crane rejected the scheme, but offered instead to sell the entire business for $2,900.00." (Watertown Daily Times, 7/2/1980)
The candy's original cardboard rolls let the candy get soggy, so Mr. Noble had the idea to use tin-foil wrappers to keep the mints fresh. Pep-O-Mint was the first Life Savers® flavor. E.J. Noble was a master salesman. He recruited youngsters all over the country to sell the candy on commission. It made LifeSavers® a household name.
Can you spot our PepOMint Lifesavers on the
Lifesavers building in Port Chester, New York?
The marching LifeSaver rollls are a World War II
Life Savers® advertisment from Look Magazine, February 23, 1943
Hard-candy fruit rings were introduced in 1929. The popular five-flavor pack (lemon, lime, orange, pineapple and cherry) debuted in 1935. During World War II, about 23 million boxes of LifeSavers® were packed into military field rations, allowing G.I.s to introduce the candy to foreign lands.
The monument on the village green in Gouverneur was erected by the Gouverneur Rotary Club on November 10, 1987. One of five, the giant Pep-O-Mint candy roll replica had once been located at the Life Savers® Plant in Port Chester, NY. Established in 1920, the enterprise endured until 1985.
For the entire history of its operation in Port Chester, the business was housed in an white and green building that was accentuated by five giant Life Savers® candy rolls, suspended at the base of the building’s façade. The Life Savers® operation in Port Chester closed in 1985, and the building was subsequently converted to condominiums. Gouverneur received one of the six giant Life Savers® rolls- the Pep-O-Mint - in honor of E.J. Noble's birthplace and hometown.
Edward Noble died peacefully in his sleep on December 28, 1958. E.J. Noble had three hospitals and a foundation named in his honor. The Edward John Noble Foundation, founded in 1940, remains active today, in Ridgefield, Connecticut.
But how did the giant Life Savers® get to the Gouverneur Village Park?
Regarding the “Life Savers” in the Gouverneur Village Park
by Curran Wade, former Mayor of Gouverneur, NY 1982-1987
Sent to Gouverneur Chamber February 3, 2021
The late Mr. Ed Case, of Case & Leader Law, got a call from the company that makes LifeSavers. They told him they had three giant LifeSavers and wondered, since E.J. Noble, the originator of said product, was connected to Gouverneur, would we like to have one?
So I had Scott Hudson, our Administrator write letters to find out who, what, when, how, etc. He did and we started. I called Cliff Tibbits, head of Gouverneur Iron Works to see if he could provide a “rock.” He said “yes,” and they did. He was in the Rotary Club.
So we had Ron Cockron, Gouverneur Village DPW Head, go down and get it. Gouverneur Iron Works built a tower, and it was erected. The Watertown Times came up and did a story for the Tribune Press. Some people tried to get it moved to the Hospital, but thank, goodness, that never happened. We have, over the past years, had great attention to the Life Savers and hopefully, it remains. People (visitors) taking pictures in front. I think the Rotary Club supplied plaques, but that all they had to do with it.
If you need me on this, I would be happy to provide more. I’m very proud of this, as a former is a very positive occurrence that happened during my 5 years as mayor.