© Author Adventures

Carl Sandburg, Poet of the People and North Carolina Farmer

The Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock (south of Hendersonville) is a 245-acre farm, built in the 1830s, that honors the memory of poet and author Carl Sandburg (1878-1967).

Nearly 200 years old, the house completed a major renovation in 2018. This National Historic Site exhibits 65,000 artifacts from the Sandburg family. Carl Sandburg lived there for 22 years, along with his wife while raising their three daughters, until his death in 1967.

In the same year that he died, classes began at Carl Sandburg College in his original home state of Illinois. After his death, Carl Sandburg’s widow, Lilian Sandburg, donated their North Carolina home to the National Park Service. It was the first unit of the National Park Service to honor a poet.

His Beginnings

Sandburg was the child of Swedish immigrant parents and fought in the Spanish-American War. Born in Galesburg, Illinois, in 1878, he is best-known for his Pulitzer-prize winning biography of President Abraham Lincoln, who is also from Illinois. Sandburg wrote children’s books and collections of short stories and poems too, like Rootabaga Stories (1922). More information about this folksy writer of biographies, short stories, poems, and songs can be found through our Illinois page.

Today, around 25 descendants of Lilian Sandburg’s original championship goat herd remain on the Sandburgs’ Flat Rock property. A news article about the man known as the “Poet of the People” and the home called “Connemara” is here: ajc.com. It was written to commemorate the 50th anniversary celebration of the Sandburg property in 2018.

Flat Rock is a village community. An historic companion to Connemara is the Flat Rock Playhouse, at 2661 Greenville Highway, which hosts approximately 100,000 visitors every year. Begun in the 1930s, it has been designated the official State Theater of North Carolina and features a nine-month performance schedule.

Goat © Author Adventures

 This is the final stop on our North Carolina Author Adventures Trail.

Patricia Smart