Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

Location: Flat Rock, North Carolina

Home Page: National Park Service

General Description: Carl Sandburg was a Pulitzer Prize winning author, folk singer, and social activist in the 20s through 50s.  He championed the common man both in his many publications over the years and his collections of folk songs.  His best known book is actually a four volume set on Abraham Lincoln: The War Years for which he won the Pulitzer Prize.  If you are not familiar with his work and history, this is a great location to become familiar with all he meant to American society.  Carl Sandburg moved his family to Connemara Farm in 1945 and lived and worked there the remainder of his life.  The home is preserved as it was when he lived there right down to the writing area where he did most of is work.  Alone with the home are the outbuildings common to a working farm at that time including stables to support his wife Lillian’s work raising prize winning goats.  A tour of the house is available and along with a walk around the farm and hiking the surrounding hill, we had a very pleasant day.

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Impressions:

1) The house has been preserved as it was when Carl Sandburg lived there back from 1945 through his death in 1967.  You can get good feel for how changes were incorporated such as improvements in electrical appliances and lightning.

2) Your first impression of the house was the vast number of books and magazines that line the walls in every room and fill every nook and cranny.  We understood from the guides that the magazines are changed out from time to time since there was an entire shed stuffed full of them on the property.  Many of the books had pieces of scrap paper sticking out of them where Carl Sandburg had marked passages.  I was also impressed with the vast collection of stereoscopic pictures and drawings.

3) I was totally unaware of the success his wife, Lillian, had in breeding goats primarily for milk.  She was an early proponent of goats milk and it was suspected that she was lactose intolerant.  She had quite a few goats that won awards for milk production and one of her goats still holds the record!

4) They still raise a few goats of each of the three varieties researched by Lillian Sandburg on the farm.  We very much enjoyed the 3 baby goats that had been born that morning.  See a picture below.

5) The house has a wonderful view of west Carolina mountains and the National Park has maintained a beautifully landscaped front yard and pond.  For those desiring more natural surroundings there a couple of moderate hiking trails around the surrounding hill on the property.

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