Horne Creek: A Lesson in Farming


North Carolina has a rich farming history, and visitors to Horne Creek Living Historical Farm in Pinnacle can discover the state's agricultural past firsthand. The farm, which takes its name from a creek on the property that flows into the Yadkin River, is north of Winston-Salem and south of Pilot Mountain, a short drive from anywhere in the Triad.

On a recent warm Saturday, my husband and I took the kids to the farm to experience rural farm life circa 1900. It is one of the best preserved examples of an early 20th-century middle-class farm in the state. Our first stop upon arrival was the visitor's center, where a guide told us about the Hauser family, who farmed the land for nearly 200 years. The farm dates back to 1830 when it was 100 acres and owned by John Hauser. Crops grown included corn, wheat, fruit, hay and traditional vegetable crops. John's son Thomas eventually took over the farm, and with his wife, Charlotte, increased the size of the farm to 450 acres. John and Charlotte had 12 children, 11 boys and one girl.

After leaving the visitor's center, we took a self-guided tour to the farm house. On the way, we passed the Southern Heritage Apple Orchard, which was established in 1997. The orchard contains more than 400 varieties of Southern apples and is believed to be the largest such public collection in the country.

We also passed by an old tobacco curing barn, and my husband told the kids about his tobacco-priming days as a young man in rural Stokes County. We also learned that Thomas Hauser did not approve of tobacco use, and the farm did not start growing tobacco until after his death.

The highlight of our visit was our self-guided tour through the old farm house, where the Hauser descendants lived until the late 1950s. At that time, the Town of Pilot Mountain bought the land. In 1987, the town sold the land to the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, and the living historical farm development began.

The state immediately began restoration to the house, which was built in between 1875 and 1880. Fortunately, restorers were able obtain most all of the house's original furniture. The house is also furnished with donated pieces and replicas found in antique shops.

My kids loved touring the house and were especially intrigued by a toy chest in a child's bedroom. The chest contained blocks, crayons and other toys from the time period. We also toured the house's parlor, kitchen and additional bedrooms.

Touring the house was very much like stepping back in time, and it was easy to imagine what it would have been like to live there.

After our tour of the house, we toured the farm grounds and saw many animals, including rare breeds that are representative of those found on farms in 1900. My kids weren't happy about the smell coming from the turkey and chicken coop, but they were very fond of the baby sheep they spotted at the feed barn. Other animals on the farm include cows and guineas. (Petting/feeding the animals is prohibited.)

Horne Creek is open year round, but is closed Sundays, Mondays and on major holidays.

Events at Horne Creek Living Historical Farm
June 20
Ice Cream Social
Help the Horne Creek staff make ice cream using a hand-cranked ice-cream freezer. Enjoy old-time music. Modest fees charged for food, drinks and ice cream. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Oct. 17
Cornshucking Frolic
A traditional rural frolic featuring the harvesting, shucking, shelling and grinding of corn. Cider making, quilting, cooking, woodworking, wagon rides and traditional music also featured. $3 donation requested for admission. Additional fees charged for food, drinks and craft activities. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Dec. 1 and 3
Christmas by Lamplight
Experience the warmth of a rural turn-of-the-century Christmas with music and food from the era. Reservations required for this one-hour program. Times are 4 p.m., 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Adults, $8; Children ages 6-12, $5; and children under 5, free.

If You Go
Horne Creek Living Historical Farm
308 Horne Creek Farm Road
Pinnacle, NC 27043
E-mail: hornecreek@ncdcr.gov

Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Monday

Free. Donations accepted and appreciated. There a

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