The Historic Johnson Farm in Hendersonville is a great example of a late 19th and early 20th century farm and tourist retreat. It's 22 miles from downtown Asheville. Today, the property includes the 1880's home, a barnloft museum, 10 historic buildings, animals, nature trails, and 15 acres of fields, forest and streams.
Guided tours for $5/person are given mornings and early afternoon. You can walk the grounds at no charge even when the gate is closed. It's owned and operated by the Henderson County Public Schools, so hours follow typical school hours. They are open Tuesday through Friday from September through May. The farm is open Monday through Thursday June through August, usually closing at 2:30 PM.
The interior of the farm house is filled with early 1900s furnishings. During the guided tour, get a great glimpse of life on the farm and boarding house. Construction of the elegant home, smokehouse, and granary began in 1876 and was completed in 1880. The entire structure was handmade from bricks that were fired on site from French Broad River mud. The Johnson Farm was the home of a wealthy tobacco farmer, Oliver Moss.
Historic Johnson Farm was a gift to Henderson County Public Schools from two bachelor brothers, Vernon and Leander Johnson. During the first half of the 20th century, Johnson Farm was a summer boarding house and tourist retreat. Mrs. Sallie Johnson and her sons treated summer visitors to three meals a day at their lovely home and farm. At one point, the charge for this would be $5 a week per person.
In 1987 the Johnson brothers willed their farm and personal possessions to the Henderson County Board of Public Education. It was their wish that the property become a hands-on museum, a lasting example of a typical mountain farm through which students of all ages could explore their heritage. For additional information call 828-891-6585. The farm is located at 3346 Haywood Road, Hendersonville, across from Rugby Middle School.
The Johnson Farm is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a North Carolina Cultural Treasure. Only three school systems in the United States own a farm. For more, go to their website.