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Miner Institute Pastures – Michelle Powers

The Town of Chazy sits on the western shore of Lake Champlain near its northern end. The Little Chazy River drains most of town. Potsdam sandstone underlies much of the western part of the town with limestone beneath much of the eastern portion. The town received its name from Captain de Chazy, who in 1666 led a French hunting excursion from the newly-built fort on Isle La Motte. Mohawks surprised them on the banks of the Chazy and killed the entire party. In 1763, the first settlers, Jean Baptiste La Framboise, his brother Bonhomme, and Francois Monty, with other Canadians as their laborers, came to Chazy to settle under the Bedou seigneurie. They planted the first orchards. The settlement was abandoned during the Revolution, and resettled in 1783 by Canadian refugees and Yankees who built fine houses of local limestone.

In 1790 the first Roman Catholic Church in Chazy (and the county), was built by Father Pierre Huet de la Valiniere for a settlement of Canadians. In 1810 Chazy's French Canadian population began to increase. By 1850 the population of French descendents had doubled, with 238 of its 881 residents having French surnames. One hundred forty two of these apparently immigrated as a result of the rebellion of 1837-38.

Early industries included saw and grist mills, agriculture, ironworks, and starch factories. In 1878 the Chazy Marble Lime Company opened. It remained in operation for nearly a century until after 1965.

Heart's Delight Farm was developed on William Henry Miner's family homestead of 144 acres in Chazy, New York, beginning in 1903. By 1918 the farm had grown to 12,000 acres, and employed 800 workers. The farm had its own dairy, box factory, ice house, natatorium, greenhouses and grist mill. A 20 bedroom guesthouse and entertainment center named Harmony Hall also included an auditorium, complete with stage, that could accommodate 300 persons.

Development of this lovely working gentleman's farm was made possible by the fortune Mr. Miner earned from his mechanical inventions for rail transportation. The farm continued to thrive during Mr. Miner's lifetime as he divided his time between the farm and his company, Miner, Inc., based in Chicago.

William H. Miner provided for the establishment of a school and farm devoted to teaching scientific and environmentally sound agricultural practices to the farmers and youth of northern New York, now known as the Miner Institute.