We hear from so many people who tell us how much they miss coming out to the Exchange Place Living History Farm. And honestly, we miss see everyone just as much! Even though we are eagerly anticipating gearing back up with the Fall Folk Arts Festival (September 25 and 26; more information will be sent out at a later date), we decided we couldn’t wait, so we are instituting a new event – Heritage Summer Sunday. This unique one-day experience will be held on Sunday, August 8, from 2 pm until 4:30 pm. Admission is $5 per person, with those under the age of 12 admitted free. As always, all proceeds go towards the care of the farm’s resident animals, and the continued restoration and preservation of the site, located at 4812 Orebank Road in Kingsport, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
This promises to be a very special day, if for no other reason than it will mark the first time Exchange Place will be open to the public since December of 2019. COVID-19, of course, forced us to cancel all of our normal events last year (except for Witches Wynd, which was done virtually). In 2021, the Spring Garden Fair and FarmFest were cancelled, as well as our Country Doings educational program, open to area schools in the spring. For those people who have missed strolling the grounds, this will be a perfect opportunity to reacquaint yourself, and to also meet the new sheep that were born earlier this year. For the many people who have moved into our beautiful region throughout the past year-plus and may have simply heard about us, Heritage Summer Sunday will allow you to finally experience Exchange Place in person.
And what will you see on Sunday, August 8? The Overmountain Weavers Guild will be out in force, demonstrating their talents in spinning and weaving. Originally formed in Kingsport in 1972, the OMWG harkens back to the days before the Industrial Revolution of the 1870s, when clothing – as well as drapes, bedspreads, quilts and the like – were made right on the farm, by wives, daughters and any other women who lived there. In an effort to form a group based on the Handweavers of Connecticut chapter (one of the very first handweaving guilds in America), Ms. Claudia Lee attended one of our early Fall Festivals and received permission to post a sign that announced the formation of a weaving group. Seven women joined, including Judy Murray and Suzanne Burrow, who would both become longtime Exchange Place volunteers, cementing a relationship that now spans decades. And the “Overmountain” name was chosen as an homage to the formation of this nation, when the Overmountain Men marched from Sycamore Shoals to Kings Mountain in October of 1780 and scored one of the most decisive victories in the colonists’ effort to secure independence from Great Britain.
Also available will be our resident animals. We now have eight sheep on the farm, including two Cotswolds, three ewes, a ram and the aforementioned newborns. They are joined by two roosters, seven hens and a chick; a Suffolk Punch draft horse and a riding horse; a Shorthorn milking cow; a Jerusalem donkey; and a pair of American Guinea hogs. They will all be visible, with some of them accessible for a “meet-and-greet” in the 1851 barn.
History abounds at Exchange Place, and many of the venerable buildings will feature volunteers who will readily share the history, and other information, about their particular structure. All of the original buildings on the farm were erected by either the Gaines or Preston families long before the War Between the States, while Roseland and the Burow Museum both began their lives in the 1790s elsewhere in Sullivan County. The garden, which logically sits next to the kitchen, will also be staffed with Master Gardeners, who will be able to describe what is grown there, and how each item was used by families in the antebellum years.
For more information on Heritage Summer Sunday on August 8, you may call Exchange Place at 423-288-6071, write to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at https://www.exchangeplace.info.
Exchange Place is a living history farm whose mission is to preserve and interpret the heritage of mid-nineteenth century farm life in Northeast Tennessee. Exchange Place is a non-profit organization maintained and operated entirely by volunteers and is supported by donations, fundraisers, memberships and grants.