Santas help dedicate International Peace Garden at corner of 98 and 104

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers
GAINES – A crowd gathers on the front lawn at Fair Haven Treasures this afternoon to dedicate an International Peace Garden. Many of the attendees were Santas in town for the Charles W. Howard Legendary Santa Claus Conference.

Ray and Linda Burke, owners of Fair Haven Treasures, are pictured with members of the Claus Clan, a group of Santas who like to celebrate their Scottish heritage.

The Burkes were praised by speakers for transforming the homestead into an art gallery and co-op.

“Thank you Ray and Linda Burke for unlocking the door to a promising future,” said Carol Culhane, the Gaines town supervisor.

John Proctor named the hamlet in Gaines “Fairhaven” more than 200 years ago. Proctor is considered the Paul Revere of Ridge Road because he rode along the Ridge, warning settlers that the British were coming during the War of 1812. He had a log cabin at the corner of 98 and 104 before the large brick house was built in 1834.

Ruby Hoffey, a music therapist at Rainbow Preschool in Albion, sings the American national anthem during today’s ceremony. She also sang the Canadian anthem.

The Peace Garden celebrates the friendship between the United States and Canada and the largest unguarded border in the world.

A member of the Claus Clan watches the celebration in Gaines today.

Paula Savage, left, of Batavia is founder of the Peace Garden Foundation. She presents a certificate to Carol Culhane, Gaines town supervisor, that certifies the garden at Fair Haven is on the International Peace Garden Trail.

There is also a peace garden at Brown’s Berry Patch in Carlton. The gardens must have a connection to the War of 1812.

At the Browns, family matriarch Bathshua Brown settled in the area in 1804 when the trees were so dense in Carlton the area was known as the Black North. She helped fight off the British in the war and took one of their captains captive.

Orleans County Legislator Lynne Johnson said John Proctor and Bathshua Brown should both be considered heroes in Orleans County, and their efforts should not be forgotten.

County Legislator Lynne Johnson addresses the crowd. She cited the pioneer grit of many of the early settlers such as John Proctor and Bathshua Brown.

Johnson thanked Ray and Linda Burke for their efforts to upgrade a vacant house and turn it into Fair Haven Treasures.

The Burkes were also presented with a proclamation from State Assemblyman Steve Hawley’s office for the garden.

Georgia Thomas, a volunteer at the Cobblestone Museum, is pictured with a Santa from Gatlinburg, Tenn. Fair Haven Treasures is located in historic Gaines, which includes the Cobblestone Museum, the only National Historic Landmark in the county.

Gaines Town Justice Bruce Schmidt served as master of cermonies during today’s dedication.

These three Santas are all from New England. They said a peace garden fits perfectly with their efforts as Santa.

“People say Christmas is all about children, but it’s really all about heart and believing in the good in everyone,” said Jim Rizzio, a Santa from Ansonia, Conn.