Cracker Box Palace is a registered non-profit, no kill farm haven in Alton, NY. that serves as the Large Animal Rescue for Wayne County and has an all-volunteer Large Animal Rescue Team. It is a unique place where farm animals of every kind come to recover from illness, neglect or abuse. Some of the residents come here due to struggling family circumstances, or because their owners can no longer give them the care they need. All animals are taught that they still have friends and families are assured that their beloved pets will not become someone’s dinner.Once the animals are given necessary adjustment time and veterinary care, some will become available for new people to love through adoption or a foster care program. Some of our animals will never leave us due to their health, age or dispositions and will live their days out on the farm with love and attention from our small army of volunteers and staff.
Cracker Box Palace is kept running on a daily basis by our volunteers, staff, and board of directors, and funding comes from our sponsors, mberships,grants, services & items that are donated, along with events and fundraisers throughout the year.
How We Started
One day in the early 1990’s, Walt Roloson, a lifelong lover and trainer of horses was called on to help a group of Saddle bred horses. At that time, Walt had been working with green and troubled horses for about 50 years. The owner of this once spectacular farm was aging and suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease and the horses had fallen into neglect, shut into a barn from which some had never come out. They actually had to be taught to leave their stalls. Walt brought with him a few helping hands for the task. Among them were his daughter, Cheri, and her husband, Burt Madison.
Among the horses they taught to accept and lead on a halter that day was a young colt. He had the kind of personality that makes some horses simply unforgettable. He was tall and gangley, deep copper red with a white stripe down his face, a “Can’t Touch This” attitude (even in his poor condition) and funny curved-in ears. This colt, later to become “Melvin”, was so weak that Walt had to trim his hooves while he was lying down. Melvin, and several other horses ended up going home with Walt that day.It took Cheri three years to recover Mel to what he should have been, and the day finally came that Walt decided it was time for him to go to a new home. Suffice this chapter in Melvin’s life to read: Cheri cried, Walt caved, Cheri prevailed and Melvin wins. Cheri and Melvin were to be together evermore.
The experience of these horses and a farm animal abuse case in a town in Wayne County, NY involving 30 starved cows, a horse and an array of other barnyard animals showed Cheri that there was a need in Wayne County for help for these animals, when their people could no longer care for them.
Melvin’s arrival marked the beginning of Cracker Box Palace, a one-time 50-acre migrant camp. Burt and Cheri found the process so rewarding, they decided to make a lifelong commitment of it. In the spring of 2001 the Palace opened officially. The list of residents has expanded from horses alone to include geese, ducks, chickens, peacocks, rabbits, goats, sheep, alpaca, llama, pigs, donkeys and cows. Many animals have enjoyed brief stays at the Palace, making new friends and receiving veterinary care before going on to their new homes. Others remain eligible for adoption, or are retired to the farm to live happy, in the safety and care of the workers of CBP.
By 2003, Cracker Box Palace couldn’t build fast enough for all the animals that needed homes, so members of the farm looked to a friend and supporter in Griff Mangan, who’s family owned Alasa Farms, a 627 acre historic Shaker Farm that overlooks Sodus Bay, just around the corner from the original farm. This farm had three big, 100 year old barns, several outbuildings, fields, orchards, and 300 acres of woods with plenty of room for stalls, pens, trails and pastures. Griff welcomed CBP to move to the farm and eventually, CBP would be the new owner of Alasa Farms.
In 2009, a devastating fire at the Main House and original Shaker building started CBP’s quest to buy the farm. Partnering with Genesee Land Trust who received a federal grant from the US Farm and Ranchland, Cracker Box Palace also received funding through the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. After running a capital campaign, the farm was finally purchased in 2013. Along with their quest to preserve and rescue animals Cracker Box Palace also pledges to preserve the history of Alasa Farms and preserve the 627 acre farm for generations in the future to enjoy and learn from.
Our Vision and Mission
Cracker Box Palace at Historic Alasa Farms will strive to be a model farm in the community by embracing the values of compassion, respect, and perseverance.
Oue mission is to provide shelter and sanctuary to farm animals in need from within our region, promote the rich history of the area and utilize sound conservation and agricultural practices by engagement and education of the community.