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LYONS, Edwin B.

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LYONS, Edwin B. (Centralia, IL--Dubuque, IA, Sept. 15, 1970). Lyons came to the BAYLESS BUSINESS COLLEGE in 1909 as its principal. He had previously served in the same capacity at Brown's Business College in Danville, Illinois. Prior to that he had worked fourteen years with the same firm in business colleges it maintained in Peoria, Decatur and Rockford, Illinois. (1)

In 1915 he was elected president of the Central Commercial Teachers' Association at their convention in Waterloo. Five states, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri were represented in the association whose goal was the betterment of educational systems. The newly elected president addressed the group and urged that pupils be taught to make a memorandum of their daily schedule so that they could complete work in an orderly fashion. (2) Lyons went on to purchase the Dubuque school and make it one of five he eventually owned in Iowa. He operated the Dubuque business school until it was sold in 1959.

Lyons is remembered for the E. B. LYONS INTERPRETATIVE CENTER bearing his name and established with his wife Ella B. LYONS and Dubuque's famous PEONY TRAIL. In 1941, as chairman of the Dubuque Civic Garden Club's Peony Project, he announced a $500 fundraiser to expand the project. (3) Through a trust fund, he fulfilled his wife's dream with a trail of peony plants on the islands running two miles in Grandview Avenue and in city parks. He served as chairman of the Peony Trail Committee for many years. (4) He was also a frequent contributor to the Telegraph Herald with articles on the care of peonies. (5)

In 1962 Lyons offered $12,000 to develop a nine-hole, par-3, golf course adjacent to BUNKER HILL GOLF COURSE. He suggested that the 18th hole could be moved southward to make room for the new course. The 18th, a par-4, would become a par-3. This would provide just over seven acres at the west end of Bunker Hill, including the practice range, for the suggested course. The idea was rejected by the Dubuque Recreation Commission as a result of a letter received from C. D. Wagstaff, the golf course architect of the renovated Bunker Hill course, who did not recommend the change. (6)

Among many civic responsibilities, he served as a director of the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.), officer of the Rotary Club and DUBUQUE AUTOMOBILE CLUB, first president of the DUBUQUE CIVIC GARDEN CLUB, and clerical delegate to the annual convention of the diocese of Iowa by ST. JOHN'S EPISCOPAL CHURCH. In addition to his forty-five years as president of BAYLESS BUSINESS COLLEGE, Lyons was the business manager of the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE, first secretary of the Dubuque Community Chest, and was active in Scouting work. In 1963 he was the first recipient of the LAY CITIZENS' AWARD. (7)

In 1972 trustees of the estate announced that a trust fund with $290,000 had been established to give funds to the Dubuque Park Board and the City of Dubuque. The money was for use within or outside the city limits to acquire or develop additional park and recreation areas.



1. "New Principal Bayless College," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, June 9, 1909, p. 12

2. "Dubuque Heads Teachers' Body," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 10, 1915, p. 16

3. "Peony Trail Drive Please Are Renewed," Telegraph Herald, July 20, 1941, p. 8

4. "Peony Trail Beauty Stirs Up Dubuquer," Telegraph Herald, August 28, 1949, p. 19

5. "Peony Expert Gives Advice," Telegraph Herald, September 1, 1949, p. 24

6. "Lyon's Golf Offer Rejected," Telegraph Herald, September 1, 1962, p. 1

7. "Teachers Cite E. B. Lyons," Telegraph Herald, April 29, 1963, p. 1