Zenda Farms – Clayton NY
Google Maps link – https://firstname.lastname@example.org,-76.103063,1550m/data=!3m1!1e3
About one mile out of Clayton, is a well-preserved piece of local history. The wonderfully kept Zenda Farms Preserve. You will easily notice the shiny silver buildings sitting back about a quarter mile North of NYS RT12E.
The farm has gone through many changes since it was purchased in 1915, by noted actor James Hackett, of Wolfe Island, from Martha Mitchell Reed. The estate was named after a movie- “the Prisoner of Zenda”, which he stared in. It was next purchased by Merle Youngs, a businessman involved in the rubber industry. Youngs started to purchase adjoining properties and farms, and his holdings totaled 734 acres. It was Youngs that developed the property into the farm that we see today. He built the Jamesway steel buildings that housed the farms working.
Today all these buildings are labeled as to their uses. It was originally a working dairy farm, and had one of the first automated bottling plants in the area. Later it’s efforts were focused on the state of the art beef cattle production. Youngs died in 1958, and left the majority of the farms properties to business associate and long -time friend, John MacFarlane.
The MacFarlane family donated 107 acres of the farm to the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT), in 1997. In the years since, TILT has acquired much of the original remaining farmlands. They now have over 400 acres. TILT is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the sight. They have worked with many organizations, such as SUNY ESF (State University of New York Environmental Science Forestry) , Ducks Unlimited, and TAUNY (traditional arts in upstate NY) to ensure their vision of an environmentally managed property. They have created a plan that benefits the local wildlife, local agriculture and recreational enthusiast. There is a community garden, the 1.5 mile MacFarlane walking trail, and many public programs. The annual Zenda Farms community picnic is a highlight of the start of the summer season, and is a celebration of the open spaces of the farm. There are several interpretive signs on the property to let you learn more about the farm. TILT has other lands besides Zenda farms, and I encourage you to look them up and learn more about what they do for the great outdoors of our area.
About the Author
I am a life-long resident of the north country, calling Edwards my home. I have always had a passion for the outdoors, and for local history. I recently started this site to share places that have been part of our local history and heritage. I hope you get a chance to hike some of these trails for yourself, and reflect on the rich history of those that walked here before you. And if not, sit back and experience these from where ever you are right now. Either way, enjoy!
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