In 1980, Jack and Faye Beckwith purchased the original homestead on Mill Street, which included about 57 acres, and our 160 year-old red barn. Our "Plan A" was to raise beef cattle and grow some hay.
Well, the fences weren't in the condition we thought they were—the cattle got out, raised havoc with the neighborhood, and, to make a long story short, we moved on to "Plan B." Jack got the idea to sell the cows, and plant Christmas trees—they seem to stay put a lot better, and don't require daily feedings.
The first Christmas trees were planted in 1985 with the help of our three children, Jack, Noelle, and Scott. Since then, we've been very blessed.
All three children have grown up and live within a mile of the farm, and all help with the farm, each sharing their God-given talents to keep everything humming along.
Joined by our 6 beautiful grandchildren—three boys and three girls—everyone pitches in to plant and shear trees, repair tractors and machinery, construct buildings and barns, create wreaths and kissing balls, wait on customers, bake cookies, clean, mow, and so on.
You’d often find our sons (Jack Sr & Scott) and oldest grandson (Jack, Jr.) on one of our classic tractors. Jack Sr lends his mechanical abilities to keep all the machinery humming. Scott is a natural-born artist & builder whose help is always appreciated.
Daughter Noelle is invaluable in the Whistle Stop Workshop and Christmas Caboose; while daughters-in-law Kim & Dawn, and the grandchildren lend their artistic talents making wreaths, kissing balls, arrangements, gifts & serving our wonderful customers. Everyone helps out whenever they can and we hope that one day one of them will become a second generation Christmas tree farmer. We feel truly blessed to live this simple lifestyle amongst our extended family and wonderful neighbors!
The farm now embraces more than 180 acres, with about 35 acres in trees. As you travel along Candy Cane Lane in our free hayrides, you'll cross our stone bridge over Nine Mile Creek, and see some of our extended woods.
Some folks are a bit curious about how we've become the Christmas Tree Station. The first train on the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad came in to Hannibal, New York on November 25, 1872. According to the "Hannibal History in Picture and Prose," the engine and cars were trimmed with evergreen.
The Hannibal Railroad Station was located on Mill Street, just North of the Village line. In the heyday of the railroad, as many as 7 passenger trains and 10 to 15 freight trains passed through Hannibal daily. Carloads of dairy products, fruits, bricks, barrels and cheese products produced in Hannibal were shipped to market by rail.
As you enjoy our train, you might be interested to learn that our engine was created from an original steam engine once used to build the roads of Hannibal, and the wheels and trucks for our cars are from New York rail yards. The Christmas Caboose is an exact replica of a 19th century caboose built from plans acquired from the Smithsonian by friend and long-time train enthusiast Joe Ukleya of Hannibal. Ukleya also donated the steel rails. Jack purchased the original wheels and trucks from a railroad yard in Syracuse, NY.
Our train is just one more way that we hope to share the season with you and your family. We are thankful that as you select your trees, wreaths and holiday decorations, we've been allowed to assist you in your family's celebration of the coming of the Savior Jesus Christ.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Beckwith Family