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A Look at Carl Sandburgs Home in Flat Rock

By Tiffany Barnwell
On August 24, 2009

Flat Rock, North Carolina is the home of America's poet, Carl Sandburg.
An ideal spot for literary and nature fanatics, a trip to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in North Carolina is a chance to sample the peaceful life led by Sandburg himself.

Sandburg moved to Flat Rock in 1945 in search of tranquility and solitude to continue his writings. Visitors can freely stroll about the farm as Sandburg did to refresh himself while writing.

Sandburg, a nationally renowned poet, biographer, lecturer, newspaper columnists, folksinger, author of American fairytales, and winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, named his estate in Flat Rock, "Connemara."

Designated as a National Historic Site in 1968 as homage for his literature, Sandburg wrote stories about the working class. Known as the "poet laureate of the people," he gave voice to the common people, outcasts, and immigrants. Whether it is their plights, struggles, joys or hopes, Sandburg's poetry, prose, journalism and biography is a true mark of the American people.

The farm he resided at features a champion dairy goat farm, the Sandburg residence, mountainside woods, ponds, lakes, flower and vegetable gardens, apple orchards, and over five miles of hiking trails all sprawled over 264 acres. Sandburg's wife, Lillian, raised prized Chikaming dairy goats on their property and even today, people visit to see the goats.

Though Sandburg had already achieved literary fame before relocating to North Carolina, he continued to write and lecture and published more than one-third of his works during the 22 years of residing at Connemara.

While Carl Sandburg tucked himself away in his study writing, his family members kept Connemara running. His daughter, Margaret, tended to the library, painted, and worked in the flower garden. Janet, Sandburg's other daughter, helped care for the farm—which included at one time a large vegetable garden, orchard, cows, chickens and hogs—while performing plenty of routine chores like cheese and butter making.

The Sandburg home, built in 1838, houses a collection of 10,000 books, notes and papers. Sandburg's property is very popular during the leaf season and offers a beautiful view of Hendersonville's fall foliage.
Carl Sandburg would often take out his chair to some of the rock outcroppings along the trails to sit and write, or just sit and enjoy the vast scenery.

During June through October, National Park Service rangers give 30 minute programs about a variety of Sandburg related topics—anywhere from bird walks to cultural landscape walks, cheese making demonstrations to sharing letters of Carl and Paula Sandburg.

While the park is open from 9am to sunset all year long and tours offered daily, visitors are encouraged to tour the grounds and enjoy the solitude it as to offer. On average, guided tours run anywhere from one to two and a half hours at Connemara.

Keep in mind that there is no place to purchase food in the park. However, water is available at fountains and in the bookstore.

Park entrance is free of charge and guided house tours are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors. Children 15 and under are free.

Please call the park at (828) 693-4178 from 9am to 5pm, May through October, to make a group reservation or to inquire about the park and programs offered.

Want to go?

From Asheville, NC: take I-26 east from I-40 or I-240; 30 miles.

The park is located three miles south of Hendersonville, NC on Little River Road off of the Greenville Highway/Rt. 225 in Flat Rock, NC.

From Interstate 26, take exit 53 (formerly exit 22)—from I-26 east, turn right onto Upward Road; from I-26 west, turn left onto Upward Road. At intersection with Rt. 176/Spartanburg Hwy, continue straight. Upward Road turns into Highland Lake Road. At the light, turn left onto Rt. 225/Greenville Hwy south. At next light, take right onto Little River Road. Visitor parking on left.
 


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