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National Historic Site Located in

Flat Rock, North Carolina

By Glenn Arnette, lll

He was a man of History, accomplished writer, newspaper journalist, lecturer, champion of labor rights, creator of the American folk tales, collector of folk songs and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and biographer of Abraham Lincoln. He was born in Galesburg, Illinois on January 6, 1878. He died on July 22, 1967 at the age of 89. America lost one of its best!


Recently while visiting in Henderson County, I was invited to the North Carolina home of this great family. His estate goes back to the year 1838 when Christopher Memminger built the main residence. He served as Secretary of the Confederate Treasury from 1861 to 1864. The second person to own the property was Ellison Smyth. He was a textile tycoon and named it Connemara.

The Smyth family sold it to Paula and Carl Sandburg in 1945. It was and still is a place of beauty.

Paula Sandburg found it to be perfect for her goats and Carl discovered true tranquility. They remained there until his death in 1967 and Lillian stayed a short time longer. In 1968 the property was authorized to become the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site as a unit of the National Park system. It was then opened to the public in 1974 and has had millions of visitors since that time.

Today the park has 264 acres and is located in Southwest North Carolina in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains just minutes from Hendersonville, North Carolina in Flat Rock.

What a treat to have the opportunity to step back in history and experience the life of Carl Sandburg. The house overlooks the mountains and the interior is exactly the way it was when the Sandburg family lived there. There are over 52,000 objects and artifacts on display with thousands more in the collection including books (thousands of books) games, magazines and furniture. You step back into history and this treasure will completely give you a sensation of how it must have been.

From the barn complex on the property which houses the descendants of Mrs. Sandburg’s award-winning goats to the many walking and hiking paths, you will discover another world nestled in this National Park.

Carl Sandburg was a quiet yet very powerful man. From his publication of Abraham Lincoln, his Pulitzer Prize for history, his honors from his work with the NAACP for coverage of the race riots in Chicago in 1919 to the many Presidents he was invited to meet and his times speaking to Congress, 

this one man was a true legend in American history.

You must plan a trip to the North Carolina Mountains and stop in Flat Rock, North Carolina just to tour this wonderful National Park. It is opened every day except Christmas from 9 AM-5 PM. There is a small fee for the tour of the home and well worth the money. The rest of the property offers the goats and Dairy Barn and Hiking Trails and Grounds.

During the Summer Season they offer stage productions presented by the State Theatre of North Carolina, Flat Rock Playhouse. One of the most exciting and beautiful times is Connemara at Christmas.

Once you have you initial visit you may want to become Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara. Your support would be greatly appreciated.

Visit Connemara and have a sense of what life was like!

For Park information you can visit their web site at or call (828)693-4178 or call theHendersonville Visitors Information Center at (800) 828-4244.