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A little gem in Genesee County: Crossroads Village & Huckleberry Railroad
My family has enjoyed this little known gem in Genesee Country numerous times! As season holder passes for many years we have spent many days visiting and walking through this picturesque village of a much simpler time. In addition, they offer a 40-minute journey behind an authentic Baldwin steam locomotive that takes you along the shores of Mott Lake, down a stretch of the historic Pere Marquette roadbed and back into the heart of Crossroads Village. In fact, the railroad’s collection of cars includes 11 original and replica wooden coaches plus a classic red wooden caboose. Without delay, continue reading as I take you on a journey through the history and one of our visits to this remarkable little village!
History of the Huckleberry Railroad Line
The Huckleberry Railroad was given its name because it ran so slow that a person could jump off the train, pick a few huckleberries, and jump back on the train with minimum effort. It began operation in 1857 as part of the Flint Pere Marquette Railroad Company. The original branch of the Pere Marquette was from Flint to Otter Lake (15 miles) and opened in 1872. Later Pere Marquette was absorbed by C&O (Chesapeake and Ohio) and then merged with other railroad lines (B&O and became the Chessie System). Today, it is known as the CSX.
Below are pictures of this beautiful train! And, a few of us too!
Locomotives #152 and #464
The Huckleberry Railroad #152 is a 4-6-0 (wheel arrangement) that was built in June of 1920 by Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the Alaska Engineering Commission (AEC). In 1943, #152 was transferred to the U.S. War Department in Seattle, Washington. Later, it was sold to the Davison Scrap Company in Stockton, California were Hal Wilmunder purchased it, relocated it to the Antelope & Western in Roseville, California, and renumbered it as #152. In 1963, it went to the Camino, Cable, & Northern and when they shut down in 1974, It was sold to Keystone Locomotive Works. Finally, in 1975 the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission purchased #152 and restored it. In 1976 #152 started serving Huckleberry Railroad and is currently still in active service.
Locomotive service #464 was built in 1903 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. In fact, the #464 spent most of its life under the ownership of the Rio Grande. Then, in 1973 Knotts Berry Farm, in Buena Park, California, purchased #464 and used it for one year. Finally, after repairs it re-entered service in July 1995 at the Huckleberry Railroad and has been powering their summer and holiday trains.
The Huckleberry Railroad operates three locomotives, two cabooses, one hopper car and a motor car (Speeder). As a matter of fact, each and every coach, caboose, and car is unique in its origins and history.
What you will find at Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad!
- The Wisner Carriage Barn
- Buzzell House
- Children’s Animal Farm
- The Eldridge-Hamner House
- The Stanley School
- Dr. Barbour’s Office
- The Fenton General Store
- Opera House – The “FLT” on the brickwork is a symbol for the Odd Fellows International fraternal organization. It stands for the organization’s motto, “Friendship, Love and Truth.”
- Toy Barn
- Atlas Grist Mill
In the village, you can experience a day in the life of a bygone era surrounded by authentic and replica buildings and artifacts.
It was a beautiful day to stroll through the village! (check out the slide show of our walk through the village)
Skills, Trades and Craftsmen
- Tin and Leather Shop
- Blacksmith Shop
- Lumber yard
- Print Shop
Craftsmen with an understanding of the ways of a century ago, bring the village to life. Furthermore, through role-playing, craftsmen give visitors an understanding of the people who lived here, their origins, education, skills, values, religious and social customs, as well as including the many tasks and problems that they encountered in their daily lives.
These are a few of the people we met throughout the day!
On the Village dock is the Genesee Belle. It is a replica of the paddlewheel riverboats that were popular during the 1800’s, Mark Twain’s time. The 45-minute excursion takes you around Mott Lake. In fact, you will see the Bluebell Beach and the wooded shoreline, and maybe catch a glimpse of the blue herons or other wildlife from the surrounding area.
Additional information about the Genesee Belle
- The cruise is available during the summer and on weekends during Ghosts and Goodies in October.
- Lunch and evening cruises are also on the itinerary.
- Also, the Genesee Belle can be also chartered meetings and special occasions. For more information on private rentals, call the reservation office at 800.648.PARK, ext. 6 or visit the facility rentals page.
- Authentic 1912 Charles W. Parker Carousel
- CW Parker Superior Wheel-This is the last one left in existence!
- The Mott Lake Flyer
- Venetian swings
- Pony carts
Here are my kids enjoying the Carousel and Superior Wheel in the Amusement Park! (And, a few other pictures!)
Our Visit to Crossroads Village on Apprentice Weekend!
We met the Artisans of the village and my kids learned how to create and make one-of-a-kind handmade items. Both of them made leather key chains, Carolan did some tin punching, Garrett built a bench and they also got to play some musical instruments with the musicians! (check out the videos of them in the leather shop making their key chains!)
My Final Thoughts!
In conclusion, visiting Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad is a great day trip for the family! The Village is a step back in time to a place when life was simpler. Not only is it fun and educational, it is also a hands on experience for the whole family. Go ahead, take some time to visit the village, there is no time like the present to experience a long gone “way back when” life, take a ride on a vintage train, or sit and enjoy a cruise on a paddlewheel riverboat. Thank you for stopping in and reading all about our day trip to Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad!
Rates and other Information
|Village Only Ticket||Combination Ticket – Village with Train|
|Adult (13 – 59)||$11.00||$16.00|
|Child (25 months – 12 years)||$9.00||$13.00|
|Children 24 months and under||Free||Free|
May 27 – September 4, 2017
Wednesday – Sunday, and Holidays, 10 am – 5 pm
*Note: The Village is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, except holidays. (May 29, July 4 and September 4)
ANNUAL FAMILY PASS (I recommend this option if you plan on visiting more than once a year)
COST: $148.00 (non-Genesee County residents), $115.00 (Genesee County residents).
The Annual Family Pass is valid for one year from the date of purchase, and allows a family of up to six people including the pass holder to enjoy Crossroads Village, Huckleberry Railroad, and the Genesee Belle. Additionally, four people can be added to the Family Pass at a cost of $19.00 per person for Genesee County residents or $24 per person for non-Genesee county residents.
Click here to view our Crossroads Village Annual Pass brochure.
*Note: NO Family, Individual, Group Home Passes or Coupons are valid during Day Out with Thomas event, including the Genesee Belle, Village only or Train.