26 November 2009

Flat Rock, North Carolina: Carl Sandburg: Literary Landmarks of the Southern United States, #19

Carl Sandburg (1878-1967) was born in Galesburg, Illinois, of Swedish immigrant parents and left school at 13 to help support his family. He left home six years later to drift around the country working on farms and railroads, which gave him a great insight into working-class America. He later went to college, failed to get a degree, but had been writing through college and in the early years of the 20th century Sandburg was writing against worker exploitation and child labor.

In 1908 Sandburg married Lilian Steichan, and continued to write as a journalist and to publish poetry. The Sandburg family, which now included three daughters, moved to a property on Lake Michigan, and by the mid-1930s Lilian had begun to raise goats, naming them Chikaming after the town they lived in.

By the early 1940s Sandburg was famous, and at the age of 67 he moved - with his family, which included two grandchildren from daughter Helga's failed marriage - to Flat Rock, North Carolina.

The Front Lake.

Connemara is a sizeable farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and Sandburg lived there for 22 years until his death. Lilian continued her goat business there. Christopher Memminger, who during the Civil War was Secretary of the Confederate Treasury, built the house in 1838, and the next owner - textile magnate Ellison Smyth - called it Connemara because of his Irish background.

Sandburg's office. He published many more books while at Connemara, and earned a second Pulitzer prize.

Sandburg brought 14,000 books with him from Michigan when he bought the property from Ellison Smyth.

The dining room.

The kitchen.

The laundry room.

Lilian's goat farm.

With a close-up of the goat barn.

And a view of the production process.

Finally, two of the goats in one of the fields.

Paula Steichan's My Connemara: Carl Sandburg's Granddaughter Tells What It Was Like to Grow up Close to the Land on the Famous Poet's North Carolina Mountain Farm gives some interesting glimpses into life in Connemara with Carl Sandburg.

No comments: