Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site

(Left to right) Carl studied Lincoln for more than 30 years; here, he reviews a collection of Lincoln papers; Front Lake overlooks the Sandburg Historic Site, complete with interpretive signage of the area’s significance.

Carl and Lillian Sandburg (nicknamed “Paula”) were quite a couple. He was one of America’s greatest, and most American of poets (read his poem Chicago). His was a unique modern style. He was also an essayist and biographer of Abraham Lincoln, winning Pulitzer Prizes for both his four volumes on Lincoln and his 1951 Complete Poems. In 1959, he addressed a joint session of Congress on the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth.

Carl Sandburg and Paula migrated from Michigan to Flat Rock in 1945. Paula had already changed her life by trying goat milk when she didn’t think she’d like it. After years of dietary issues, she discovered the nourishing, mild magic of the milk, shifting away from any dairy product made from cow milk. 

Paula picked the North Carolina foothills for their farm named “Connemara” because the move gave her the rural resources to become a globally-known, scientific breeder of prize-winning dairy goats. She focused on breeding goats of the Toggenburg, Saanen, and Nubian breeds, working to enhance the quality and quantity of the milk. In 1960, one of her Toggenburgs was internationally acclaimed as the top producer in the world. She helped found the American Dairy Goat Association, still based in Western North Carolina.

Flat Rock was a perfect place to pursue her mission while providing the peaceful setting for Carl’s pursuits. More than a third of his literary works were produced here. Shortly after Sandburg died in 1967, Paula gifted their farm to the National Park Service.

Why Visit 
Now a National Historic Site, the pastoral farm and home where they raised their three daughters speaks to both America’s literary heritage and the rural mountain agricultural setting still so key to the landscape and culture of Western North Carolina. The goat barns and residing herd are an inspiring, family-friendly part of a visit. The entire place is a public relations firm promoting the oft-maligned, much-misunderstood majesty of dairy goats.

The home tour that’s available to visitors memorably shows the simple rural lifestyle of this unique couple and their family. Sandburg’s 15,000-book library is everywhere, and his attic writer’s “garret” reveals his desk to be a simple crate with a typewriter plopped atop. They resisted buying new furnishings, preferring the simple Arts and Crafts style of Stickley furniture that still today dominates the lobby of the Grove Park Inn.

Outdoors, there’s a five-mile hike that surveys the scene with Sandburg-oriented interpretive signing.

Carl Sandburg Home 
81 Carl Sandburg Lane
Flat Rock, NC 28731
(828) 693-4178;
Open Thursday-Sunday. 
House open for tours 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (reserve tours at; trail open daily from dawn to dusk; goat barn and pasture open 10 a.m.-3 p.m.