Gouverneur Chamber of Commerce Celebrating 110 Years of Service 1908-2018
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 founded the Life Savers Candy Company in 1913.
He was the first chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Authority. He also served as Undersecretary of Commerce under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1939-1940. in 1943, following the FCC's decree that RCA divest itself of one of its two radio networks, he founded the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) when he purchased the NBC Blue Network.
In 1912, chocolate manufacturer Clarence Crane (Cleveland, Ohio) invented Life Savers® as a “summer candy” that could withstand heat better than chocolate. Since the mints looked like miniature life preservers, he called them Life Savers®. After registering the trademark, Crane sold the rights to the peppermint candy to Edward Noble for $2,900. Instead of using cardboard rolls, which were not very successful, Noble created tin-foil wrappers to keep the mints fresh. Pep-O-Mint was the first Life Savers® flavor.
Noble was part of the St. Lawrence Seaway Project and was appointed to the advisory board by President Eisenhower in 1954. He owned Boldt Castle, The Thousand Island Club, and a summer residence on Wellesley Island. The ornamental street lights in the village park are all that remain of the gift of new street lights that were given to the village by Edward and his brother, Robert. The lights were in memory of their father.
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.
World War II Life Savers® Ad
Look Magazine, February 23, 1943
Life Savers Building
Port Chester, NY