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Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site


A trip to the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site in North Carolina is a chance to sample the idyllic life led by this poet, author, lecturer, minstrel, political activist, and social thinker. Visitors can stroll about the farm as Sandburg did to refresh himself while writing. In the barn area one finds a small herd of goats and, in the summer, park rangers demonstrating cheese-making. Sandburg's wife and daughters made cheese, yogurt, and ice cream from goats' milk.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site
©National Park Service
Carl Sandburg named his North Carolina farm and home Connemara.

Rangers also lead poetry and music programs, reminiscent of evenings on the farm when Sandburg would read to or sing with his family after dinner, before heading upstairs to his office where he often worked until morning.

Sandburg was a newspaperman before turning full-time in 1932 to other forms of writing, including poetry, biography, autobiography, history, children's literature, books on American folk music, and a novel. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 for the four-volume set, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years. Five years later, he bought this farm and home in North Carolina, which he called Connemara. He lived there for 22 productive years.

Much of Sandburg's writing was influenced by his early experiences. He grew up in a small prairie town in the Midwest and left school after the eighth grade to work and travel. He traveled across the country as a hobo, served as a soldier in the Spanish-American War, and worked as a political reformer. He returned home in 1898 to study at Lombard College, where he began writing seriously. His first success came in 1914 when nine poems, including "Chicago," still his most famous work, were published.

Known as the "poet laureate of the people," he gave voice to common people, outcasts, and immigrants, as revealed in the famous closing lines of the aforementioned classic: "Laughing the stormy, husky, brawling laughter of Youth, half-naked, sweating, proud to be Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation."

While Carl Sandburg was tucked away in his study writing, the other members of the Sandburg family kept Connemara running smoothly. His daughter Margaret tended the library, painted, and worked in the flower garden. Another daughter, Janet, helped care for the farm -- which included at one time a large vegetable garden, an orchard, cows, chickens, and hogs -- and performed plenty of routine chores such as cheese- and butter-making. Mrs. Sandburg ran the farm business, and she bred and cared for her large, prize-winning goat herd, which numbered up to 200 animals.

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site Information

Address: 81 Carl Sandburg Ln., Flat Rock, NC
Telephone: 828/693-4178
Hours of Operation: Open daily 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. except Christmas
Admission: $5 for adults; $3 for seniors 62 and older; free for children under 16

Learn more about these other national historic sites:

Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic SiteClara Barton National Historic Site
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To learn more about national monuments, memorials, and historic sites, and other travel destinations in North America, visit:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Eric Peterson is a Denver-based author who has contributed to numerous guidebooks about the Western United States.