Medina Journal-Register — Orleans County has some really neat things like being along the shores of Lake Ontario with its great fishing and boating, the Oak Orchard River, near State and Federal Refuge areas, old cobble stone houses and a host of other great stuff.
One of my favorite things is in Lyndonville and is a real “jewel” for those who really enjoy seeing a collection of trees, shrubs and vines. The place is called Robin Hill Nature Preserve and is on Platten Road. It contains 45 acres of over 250 varieties of trees and plants, a beautiful lake and a smaller pond. There is also a beautiful sandstone manor that was built by Mr. William A. Smith, his wife Mary, son George and daughter Marion.
The manor was started in the late 1940’s and the Smiths, including the son and daughter did most of the sandstone cutting and laying and actual building with help from the Lyndonville Canning Factory staff. It took them five years to quarry and cut the stone and build the house. The windows were glazed and the chimneys done by professional masons. George did most of the stone work and built the beautiful arches on the North Porch. He also did all of the interior finish wood and cabinetry in his work shop over the garage. Although the arboretum is quite a sight to see, the beautiful workmanship of the manor is right up there with it.
Robin Hill Nature Preserve is listed in the Botanical Gardens of NYS and contains seven Champion Big Trees. These trees are the largest examples of their species in the state. The most famous is the 90 foot Giant Sequoia with it’s circumference of 113 inches. Right next to it stands a Metasequoice (Dawn Redwood) which was originally thought to be extinct but in the 1940’s a stand of them were discovered in China by a Chinese student studying in this country. When he returned home he collected some seeds and some where given to Mr. Smith. Other trees on the Champion Big Tree list is a Osage Orange, Mimosa Silktree, Yellowwood, Royal Paulownia, Glossy Buckthorn and Pussy Willow.