You can step back into the past and experience the South’s rural heritage at Horne Creek Living Historical Farm in North Carolina.
Once the Hauser family farm, Horne Creek Farm is now a North Carolina State Historic Site, providing visitors a look at farm life in North Carolina’s northwestern Piedmont region in the early 1900s, when Thomas and Charlotte Hauser and their twelve children worked this prosperous 450 acre farm.
For thousands of years before the first European settlers arrived, the area was used as a camp and hunting grounds by the Indians. In 1779, John Horne was awarded a land grant to the property, but never developed it. The land went through several hands before John Hauser acquired it in 1830 and established a small family farm. With the help of his wife, seven children, and three slaves, Hauser cleared the land and prospered.
The Hauser family fell on hard times during the Civil War. The three oldest sons all served in the Confederate Army, and two of them died of disease by war’s end. The war brought financial ruin to much of the South, and the farm’s value dropped from $2,600 in 1860 to less than $1,000 by the time the war was over. With slavery over and only his son Thomas left to help with the farm, John Hauser had to work hard to recover, but he did so much faster than many of his neighbors. Within five years he was producing more crops than he had before the war started.
In 1875, Thomas Hauser married Charlotte Kreeger, and the young couple built the farmhouse that now stands at Horne Creek Farm. Eventually Thomas took over the farm’s operation and continued to prosper, through hard work and dedication.
The Hauser family is gone now, but their traditions and lifestyle live on through costumed interpreters who grow vegetables, wheat, corn, oats, and tobacco, plowing the fields with horses and mules, mending harnesses and fences, and demonstrating old time skills like chair caning and churning butter.
The site includes the Hauser family’s original two story farm house, a tobacco curing barn (below) , corn crib, and other outbuildings, along with cultivated fields, and a heritage apple orchard.
The family home is furnished with period items, including portraits of the Horne family hanging on the walls, and a quilt frame with an unfinished quilt, just waiting for the lady of the house to return and take up where she left off.
The kitchen holds an impressive wood cook stove, and the table is set for dinner.
The Hausers were a happy and loving family who made their own entertainment, as evidenced by the Parcheesi game on an end table, a stereoscopic viewer, and the handsome 1890 pump organ in the parlor.
It took a long time for modern conveniences like electricity to reach this isolated region, but the Hauser family still lived in comfort for their times. Outside, a milk well keeps eggs and milk cool even on hot summer days.
At different times during the year, visitors can watch the costumed interpreters performing routine farm chores as they were done in the old days, and even participate in events like corn shuckings and fall festivals.
The first stop at Horne Creek is the Visitor Center, where you can see examples of rural crafts and equipment, and browse a small gift display. The woman on duty during our visit was very friendly and eager to share information about the farm’s history.
Special events throughout the year focus on farm and domestic life of the early 1900s, such as sheep shearing, pie baking, corn shucking, ice cream socials, musical afternoons, children’s games, and plowing with draft animals. Hands-on activities are available spring, summer, and fall for scheduled groups. Guided tours are available upon request.
From the Visitor Center, a short path leads to the farm buildings, winding past orchards, a tobacco shed, and farm fields where mules work in harness. The quarter-mile long Horne Creek Nature Trail starts at the Visitor Center and passes through the historic area, past the family cemetery, along Horne Creek, and through a beautiful wooded ridge, returning to the Visitor Center parking lot. The cemetery is the final resting place of descendants of the Hauser family, and several unidentified graves are probably slaves.
The Visitor Center is wheelchair accessible from a gravel parking lot. The path to the farmhouse is accessible with wheelchair assistance or by van for groups. Gravel pathways access the farmhouse, and wheelchairs will need assistance. The house itself is preserved in its original state, and is not wheelchair accessible.
Horne Creek Living Historical Farm is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and is closed Sundays, Mondays, and most major holidays. The farm is located at 308 Horne Creek Farm Road, about six miles from Pinnacle, North Carolina.
From Interstate 74/U.S. 52, take the Pinnacle exit (129) and follow the signs southwest on Perch Road, approximately 3½ miles to Hauser Road. Turn right on Hauser Road, and go approximately 2½ miles. Horne Creek Living Historical Farm is on the left. The roads are narrow and winding through here, and large RVs would have difficulty. The parking lot at Horne Creek Farm will accommodate RVs if it is not very busy. Admission is free except during events sponsored by Horne Creek Farm’s support group, when a nominal fee is charged. Donations are accepted and appreciated. For more information on Horne Creek Farm, call (336) 325-2298 or visit the farm’s website at http://www.nchistoricsites.org/horne/horne.htm
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