Owned by: Larry and
family tradition has a strong history at Hamiltonís Maple Farm,
where maple sap has been boiled each year since the mid-1800ís.
Larry and Phyllis
Hamilton are the fourth-generation of Hamilton Maple Producers to
thrive on the now 233-acre farm nestled in the rolling hills outside
Ulysses in Bingham Township, Potter County.
great-grandfather, Martin Hamilton, ran the operation through the
1800ís and until his death in 1957. Martin proved his ingenuity in
1874 when he whittled a trough from a Hemlock tree for ease of
transporting maple sap. The trough has been preserved and is on
display at the sugar house on the Hamilton Farm.
produced maple syrup in the traditional manneróusing an open-air
arch and an evaporator with no hood or steam stacks, in the middle
of the woods, surrounded by as many as 3,000 bucket taps constantly
filling with sap throughout the sugaring season.
In 1935, Martin saw
a need to update the operation, purchasing eight new flue pans for a
Martin passed his
love of sugaring on to his great-grandson, Larry, and in 1980, he
and Phyllis took over the family operation, using the same
traditional equipment as Martin, his grandparents, Harland and
Laura, and his parents, Clair and Joanna.
At that time, the
Hamilton family still used the old sugar shack, but within a few
years, it was clear they would need a more modern facility.
In 1989, they moved
the sugar shack to its present location into the building that also
housed the coupleís construction business until recently, and added
a new hooded evaporator. The Hamiltonís maple operation now occupies
the entire building, replete with a store, restaurant-style kitchen,
dining area and sugar house.
They also began
acquiring more modern equipment. They have since added several
thousand taps at seven sites, a vacuum-tubing system for collecting
sap and a reverse osmosis machine.
The Hamiltonís now
lease property, as well, enabling them to increase their taps to
upwards of 9,000, with a goal of reaching 10,000 taps in the near
The old sugar house
has been demolished, having been replaced by a family pavilion some
years ago. Larry and Phyllis salvaged what they could from the
historic site, and many of these artifacts are on display at the new
operation is truly a family affair. All three of Phyllis and Larryís
children have been involved in sugaring. Their son, Marshall, and
his wife, Debby, have a ten acre plot of their own and are helping
with the family business. Marshall and Debbyís daughter, Marian,
spends her days in the sugar
tasting maple goodies, creating artwork and learning the ways of a
sixth-generation maple producer.
This year, Larry
and Phyllis expanded their operation by opening a seasonal pancake
They also are
working to re-establish the Christmas Tree Farm located on some of
their newly-acquired land, and the Hamilton children have been
running a corn maze and a pumpkin patch for the last few years
during the month of October.
Products is open seasonally for tours, demonstrations and
taste-testing, and pancakes are available. Visit hamiltonspuremaple.com
or call 814-848-9853 for more information.
Be sure to visit
the Hamiltonís Farm during the Potter/Tioga Maple Producers
Associationís annual Maple Weekend, when a pancake breakfast,
samples and other activities are available.
Hamiltonís Maple Products, From US Route 6 in Coudersport, take
Route 49 East until approximately 1 one mile north of Ulysses, then
turn left onto Jackson Road. Drive approximately 1 mile then take a
right onto Gee Hill Road. After 3/4 mile, the Hamiltonís Sugar
House will be on the right,
located at 320 Gee Hill Road.