Saturday, July 15, 1916, was a gala day in East Rochester; several acres of beautiful land facing Main and East Ivy streets became the property of the village. It would be called Edmund Lyon Park. Below is an accounting of the events of that day.
The crowd began to gather on Main Street, the main thoroughfare leading to the park. Shortly after noon, a parade started at the corner of Main and Maple Avenue led by the Odd Fellows Band and followed by the East Rochester Fire Department, village officials, board of trade members in automobiles, community chorus members and school children. The road to the speaker’s platform was lined with people; the number was estimated to be around 5,000. The parade was followed by the raising of a very large flag to the top of a tall steel flagpole, which workmen had just erected at the highest point of the park property. Fitting to the occasion, the president of the village, Howard Worden, hoisted the new flag to its lofty position, where now, 103 years later, it still waves.
Following the raising of the flag, Miss Kate Gleason, the park donor, presented the deed to the park property stating that the park be named the Edmund Lyon Park. Why Edmund Lyon Park? Since the day of the birth of this village Edmund Lyon, with his business knowledge, has aided the village financially on more than one occasion. Village President Worden, who proposed three cheers for Miss Gleason, accepted the deed on behalf of the village.
Lyon was called upon for a few remarks and responded by stating that while he appreciated the honor of this beautiful park being named the Edmund Lyon Park, he thought Gleason Park a better and more appropriate.
DPW head Joe Mitchell thanked his crew of workers for their efforts in preparing the land for the park and erecting the bandstand.
The only hitch in the planning was in the seating arrangements. The original plan was to have the wooded hillside serve as a backdrop for the activities on the stage. But as the crowd assembled, they chose to sit on the hillside. This necessitated the hasty rearrangement of the podium to face them.
The park has been used from that day to the present and is one of the main attractions of the village. The original bandstand survived until 1988, when it was replaced by the fine structure that is the showpiece of the park today.