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a sign on the side of a dirt road

In the spirit of Halloween (and in preparation for our very first Strasburg Spooktacular), we thought now would be the perfect time to give our readers some history on one of the spookier sites along our rails. Our steam-powered Iron Horse not only ushers our guests through scenic farmland, but it also passes a unique graveyard at Carpenter’s Crossing. Carpenter’s Cemetery, also known as “The Ferree Graveyard,” is the oldest cemetery in Lancaster County, PA.

One of our first settlers was laid to rest behind the gates of that cemetery. Her name was Marie Ferree, a French Huguenot. She and her family were forced to flee France in the 18th century in order to avoid religious persecution. Shortly after leaving France, Marie and a small group of followers were granted an audience with Queen Anne, thanks to an English philosopher, Quaker and lifetime advocate of religious freedom…William Penn.

Marie and her family were given 2 ½ square miles of land in Pequea Valley, Pennsylvania…. and the name they gave their new home was “Paradise.” While she now lived among rolling hills and free from persecution, Marie Ferree was still practical. Shortly after her arrival, she chose a spot on the farm to serve as their family cemetery.

Sadly, Marie Ferree died four years later and became the first family member to be buried at the site. Over the years, the farmland has changed ownership from the Ferree family to the Carpenter family. However, both Ferree and Carpenter families continued to use the cemetery, thanks to an agreement they struck in 1787.

This cemetery has become one of the many historical stops and must-sees when visitors travel to Lancaster County. The legacy of the Ferree family can still be seen today with the religious diversity that is so widely celebrated in this region – Amish, Mennonite, Quaker, Lutheran, Catholicism and Judaism. It all began in a place called Paradise, which is the destination of our Spooktacular event!

See this and other treasured landmarks this October aboard our steam train at our Spooktacular event. We will also stop to hear the ghost of old LO&S #9, with our final destination being Groff’s Grove. Upon arrival, our guests may disembark and enjoy a harvest festival including trick-or-treating, pumpkin decorating and themed arts and crafts. Snacks will also be available, for purchase, for those hungry little monsters.

And who knows, Marie Ferree may decide to make an appearance! Join us for this Spooktacular event and purchase your tickets today.