Christmas trains come back around to Dalzell

Visit Horsman Christmas Garden to see old-school holiday display

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 12/17/17

Anyone looking for a more old-school way to enjoy the holidays can start by visiting the Horsman Christmas Garden on Camden Highway — just look for the sign that says “Christmas …

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Christmas trains come back around to Dalzell

Visit Horsman Christmas Garden to see old-school holiday display

Bill Horsman, dressed at Santa Claus, sets up pieces on his train set. Visit the Horsmans’ Christmas Garden from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 3351 Camden Highway, Dalzell.
Bill Horsman, dressed at Santa Claus, sets up pieces on his train set. Visit the Horsmans’ Christmas Garden from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 3351 Camden Highway, Dalzell.
MICAH GREEN / THE SUMTER ITEM
Posted

Anyone looking for a more old-school way to enjoy the holidays can start by visiting the Horsman Christmas Garden on Camden Highway — just look for the sign that says “Christmas display” or the house with the giant Santa in the front yard.

The display — which requires lots of patience and extension cords to construct — has been a Christmas wonder in the Dalzell area for years.

Bill Horsman III and his father, Bill Horsman II, grew up looking at model train displays every Christmas in Baltimore.

The malls and fire departments up North had Christmas village displays every year, but you don’t see a lot of displays in the South, he said. When the Horsman family moved to South Carolina about 17 years ago, the group decided to bring their northern Christmas tradition with them.

However, the Horsmans stopped the event for two Christmases while Horsman II’s wife, Mary, was ill. She passed away in March 2016, and the father-and-son duo decided to continue the display in her honor that Christmas.

“It’s a little tough because of mom passing,” Horsman III said. “She was my heart.”

Though the Christmas garden takes up most of the center of the garage, Horsman III said there are enough pieces in storage to make a second Christmas display.

“We need a bigger garage,” he said.

He said there’s enough track to run the trains to the mailbox — some hundreds of feet away from the display area.

The Horsman family has been collecting pieces for their train display for more than a decade.

“I couldn’t give you a price for some of these pieces,” Horsman III said.

“I’m afraid we’ll start popping breakers if we put everything on,” he said.

“I haven’t seen anything of this size at all here,” said Pat Hartis, the girlfriend of Horsman II, who places the tiny people and buildings on the display table.

“It takes about three weeks to put everything up,”she said. “ It takes about five days to take down.”

Some people even offer to donate pieces to the collection, Hartis said.

The garage can get pretty noisy with all of the trains running and mechanical pieces moving, but to the Horsmans and Hartis, it’s the sound of nostalgia.

“It’s kind of soothing,” Horsman III said. “My father always had trains in the house.”

Hartis said she also grew up with model trains from her grandfather’s extensive collection.

It has been years since the Horsmans started the annual display, but father and son still get excited for the event every year.

“They’re like big kids,” Hartis said.

Actual children also enjoy the display, possibly because everything is at eye level for them.

“There’s so much going on,” she said.

Santa will also be present to greet visitors.

Visit the Horsmans’ Christmas Garden from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 3351 Camden Highway, Dalzell.

More information about the Christmas display can be found on Facebook, Facebook Marketplace and Craig’s List.