Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, located in North Carolina, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 264-acre park is situated 30 miles southeast of Asheville, North Carolina, near the western edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This park, established in 1968, is the first national park to honor an American writer. Each year, 80,000 visitors come to enjoy the Sandburg Home, barn, hiking trails, and grounds. We invite you to explore the park's natural beauty and serenity. Take a tour of the home to learn about Carl Sandburg as the "Poet of the People," hike and enjoy views of the surrounding mountain scenery, visit the barn to interact with the descendants of Mrs. Sandburg's dairy goats. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, resources can be found in the ground floor of the Sandburg Home at the visitor information area and park store. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, listen to the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
The front of the brochure, referenced as side one, focuses on Carl Sandburg and his family while they lived in Flat Rock, North Carolina from 1945-1967. It includes information about his writing habits, works he published and his wife Lilian's work raising dairy goats at the farm.
Side one also includes a quote from Carl Sandburg, a timeline of his accomplishments, a photo of the house and surrounding scenery and a series of black-and-white photos of Carl Sandburg and his family.
The official brochure for Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is 8 ¼ inches wide by 4 inches tall, when folded. When unfolded, the brochure is 8 ¼ inches wide by 23 ½ inches tall in a portrait format.
A color photo showing a view of the Sandburg Home from near the visitor entrance. As visitors enter the park, their first view of the Sandburg Home is across a small lake, then up a hill with the Sandburg Home at the top of the hill. This image shows calm lake water on the bottom third with a duck swimming on the right side. Above the lake is a grassy hill partially obscured by tree branches overhanging from each side of the image. The prominent tree is a dogwood, with white spring blossoms visible. In the top third of the image, above the grassy hill and tree branches, is the Sandburg Home. The home is centered in the image with more trees on either side. The three-story home is white with four prominent columns across the front porch.
A quote by Carl Sandburg overlays the lake at the bottom of the image: "It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’"
"It is necessary now and then for a man to go away by himself and experience loneliness; to sit on a rock in the forest and to ask of himself, ‘Who am I, and where have I been, and where am I going?’" — Carl Sandburg
The color image is an outdoor scene featuring a large flat granite rock on the bottom half and evergreen trees on the top half. Centered directly in the middle of the rock and trees is a chair made of bent wood. There is a graceful arch of several bent wood branches across the top of the chair coming down to meet sturdy branches that form the arms, legs and support for the chair. There is a satchel resting on the ground near the left side of the chair with a light blue shirt draped over the satchel. A dark blue scarf hangs from the left arm of the chair and a tan colored book is resting on the chair seat.
This rock behind the house was Carl Sandburg’s favorite place to work outdoors.
This section of text is arranged in three columns underneath the top image.
Carl Sandburg was already famous when he moved with his family to the Blue Ridge mountains of western North Carolina in 1945. Poet, minstrel, lecturer, biographer, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, he had spent his lifetime championing social justice and the American people through his writings and his singing. At 67, an age when many people retire, Sandburg was still actively working.
Sandburg’s wife Lilian had discovered the mountain farm named Connemara with their youngest daughter Helga. The farm had everything the family wanted, including a gentle climate and ample pasture for Mrs. Sandburg’s goat herd and seclusion for her husband’s writing. Carl Sandburg would call it home for 22 years.
The estate had a long history—an ironic history for the biographer of Abraham Lincoln—for Christopher Memminger, who built the main residence around 1838, had served from 1861 to 1864 as Secretary of the Confederate Treasury. The second occupant, textile tycoon Ellison Smyth, named it Connemara to honor his Irish ancestry. Smyth’s heirs sold it to the Sandburgs, who moved from Michigan with their three daughters, two grandchildren, a library of over 14,000 volumes, and the Chikaming goat herd.
The years at Connemara were productive for Carl Sandburg. He published poems, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction. He continued to travel, lecture, sing, and earn accolades, including another Pulitzer Prize. The family was busy, too. Mrs. Sandburg bred her prize-winning goats and ran the farm business. Margaret helped her father, attended to the library, and worked in her flower garden. Janet helped on the farm, which was especially active when Helga and her children, John Carl and Paula, lived here. Until her second marriage and move from Connemara, Helga managed the dairy operation with her mother. The grandchildren rode horses and played in the woods and pastures.
Carl Sandburg kept late hours. He often worked most of the night, while it was quiet and still, and slept late in the morning. After a midday meal, he read, answered letters, and wrote wherever his imagination took him— in his upstairs office or study, living room, front porch, or on the large, sloping rock behind the house.
There were frequent visitors at Connemara. A favorite guest was the well-known photographer Edward Steichen, Mrs. Sandburg’s brother and Carl Sandburg’s closest friend. Guests or not, dinner was a social gathering for the family. Afterward, Sandburg would read aloud or sing with them. In the afternoon or evening, he walked with his wife, children or grandchildren, or his friends on one of the winding paths or through the woods.
Carl Sandburg died at home on July 22, 1967. In 1968 the Sandburg family sold the property, donating the contents of the home to the National Park Service to be preserved as the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. Always a voice for the American people, Carl Sandburg speaks to us still through his words, songs, and the beauty and serenity of Connemara.
This image is a scan of Carl Sandburg's actual signature. Each letter of his name is easily recognized in his loopy, cursive style.
This black-and-white image is a view of Carl Sandburg at work in his study located on the third floor of the Sandburg Home. Sandburg is seated on a wood chair in front of a cluttered desk typing on his typewriter. A cigar hangs from his lips while he concentrates on finishing his correspondence. He is wearing a white button-down shirt and dark trousers. His short white hair is parted on the side, and he is wearing wire-rim glasses. The small room around him features a desk, filing cabinet and small crates all filled and stacked with books, papers and notebooks. On his right is a floor lamp and behind him to the left is a window.
Carl Sandburg in his third-floor study.
June Glenn Jr.
Born on January 6 in Galesburg, Ill.; second child and eldest son of Swedish immigrants August and Clara Sandburg; baptized Carl August, called Charles.
Lilian Steichen, Sandburg’s future wife, born May 1 in Hancock, Mich.
Leaves school after eighth grade to help support his family; works long hours delivering milk and at other jobs; leaves home at 19, travels country as hobo and works as laborer on farms and railroads; sharpens his interest in labor laws and the plight of working people.
Serves as a private in the Spanish-American War; returns to Galesburg, enrolls as special student at Lombard College.
Receives appointment to West Point but fails entrance exams in math and grammar; returns to Lombard College; becomes editor of college journal and yearbook and captain of basketball team; encouraged by a professor, begins writing in earnest.
Leaves college without a degree; sells 3-D stereographs; writes for Galesburg Evening Mail using pseudonym Crimson; first poetry and prose In Reckless Ecstasy published in 1904 as booklet by his college professor; active in Social Democratic party; lectures and writes against exploitation of workers; calls for end of child labor practices.
Marries Lilian Steichen, who shares his interest in social reform and human rights; he calls her by nickname Paula; she calls him by birthname Carl.
Writes and edits for several newspapers and magazines; daughter Margaret born.
Poems published in Poetry: A Magazine of Verse; wins a cash award for best poems of the year and is discovered by publisher Alfred Harcourt.
Daughter Janet born; joins Chicago Daily News as a reporter; daughter Helga born.
Harcourt, Brace and Howe publishes The Chicago Race Riots; publishes Rootabaga Stories.
Publishes two-volume biography Abraham Lincoln: the Prairie Years; establishes reputation as a biographer.
Publishes The American Songbag; buys property on Lake Michigan; Lilian Sandburg designs house; leaves newspaper to focus on his writing: poetry, children’s stories, and the Lincoln biography.
Lilian Sandburg buys first goats, registers the herd’s name as Chikaming after the township where they live; begins breeding program to improve goats’ bloodlines and milk production.
Publishes four-volume set Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.
Wins the Plitzer Prize for history; elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters; receives honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, and other colleges and universities.
Sandburg family moves to Connemara Farm, Flat Rock, N.C.
Publishes Complete Poems; wins Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1951; receives many medals and honors, including National Institute of Arts and Letters gold medal for history and biography in 1952; writes prolifically; travels the country lecturing, reading poetry, and singing.
Delivers Lincoln Day address before joint session of Congress; travels to Moscow with Edward Steichen as cultural envoy for State Department and represents the United States at Family of Man exhibit; wins a Grammy Award, Best Spoken Word Performance, for his recording of Aaron Copland’s A Lincoln Portrait with the New York Philharmonic.
Works as Hollywood film consultant; receives International United Poets Laureate award in 1963; receives Presidential Medal of Freedom from Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.
Receives honors from NAACP for his coverage of 1919 Chicago race riots and for his “life-long struggle to extend the frontiers of social justice.”
Dies July 22 at home in Flat Rock, N.C., age 89; the nation mourns and acclaims him as writer, biographer, folk singer, lecturer, and Poet of the People.
Congress authorizes the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, the first park to honor a poet.
Lilian Steichen Sandburg dies February 18, age 93.
This image is nestled among the six columns of text of "A Sandburg Chronology." It is black and white and features Carl Sandburg seated on the front steps of his home holding a bell-shaped guitar. His short white hair is parted on the side. He is wearing a white button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up past his elbows. His dark trousers are cuffed at the bottom with dark socks showing. He is wearing dark oxford-style shoes. His bent knees support an acoustic guitar with the body in a bell-shape. His left hand is positioned on the neck to play a chord and his right hand is positioned to strum the strings.
June Glenn Jr.
IMAGE 1 of 4: Carl and Lilian
Image one is a black-and-white portrait of Carl and Lilian Sandburg taken in 1923. Carl's face in profile is prominently featured on the left side of the image. He is turned, looking toward the right. A fringe of short hair is just visible near the top edge of the image with a strong profile of his nose and lips against the shadow his face is casting. The shadow is cast just along the left side of his wife, Lilian. She is looking directly forward on the right side of the image. Short curly hair frames the top and right side of her face. Clear eyes look out at the camera. Deep lines run from either side of her nose to the corners of her mouth, which is held in a pleasant expression.
Carl and Lilian Sandburg, 1923.
Edward Steichen by permission of Joanna Steichen
IMAGE 2 of 4: Family
This black-and-white image shows Carl and Lilian Sandburg with their three daughters. It is in an outdoors setting with trees and a roofline visible in the background. You can see the heads and feet of each family member. On the left side is Carl Sandburg standing and holding his second daughter, Janet, age 3. Mrs. Sandburg is standing next to him in the middle cradling their youngest daughter Helga, age 1. Standing to her left is their oldest daughter Margaret, age 8. All are wearing heavy coats in dark colors with the baby wrapped in a thick blanket. Their faces are visible with all looking toward each other with pleasant expressions.
Young family, 1919.
NPS/Contributed by Helga Sandburg Crile
IMAGE 3 of 4: Grandchildren
This black-and-white image features Carl Sandburg kneeling by his grandson, John Carl, and granddaughter, Paula. In the background, you can see the goat barn and outbuildings, two farm workers and several goats. Carl is kneeling on the left side of the image with his body turned, facing the right side. He is wearing a white shirt with sleeves rolled above the elbows and dark trousers. He has short white hair, parted on the side and is wearing wire-rim glasses. The head of a dark-colored goat with long ears is poking into the image from the left as if to nibble at his pocket.
His grandson, John Carl, is in the middle top half of the image, bent over to look at a white goat that is laying down in the middle bottom half of the image. He has short dark hair and is wearing a horizontal-striped shirt with dark pants. He is looking toward the right side of the image at his sister who is seated on the right bottom half of the image next to the white goat. She is looking back at her brother. She is wearing a white shirt with sleeves rolled up to her elbows and dark pants.
Carl and grandchildren John Carl and Paula, 1953.
IMAGE 4 of 4: Carl and Lilian
This black-and-white image is a portrait of Carl and Lilian Sandburg taken in 1956 at their home in Flat Rock, North Carolina. It is a formal portrait with Carl seated on the left side and Lilian standing on the right. His short white hair is parted to the side, and he has a pleasant expression while looking directly at the camera. He is wearing a light-colored button-down shirt, dark color bowtie and a dark-colored suit jacket. Lilian Sandburg has her right hand across the back of his shoulder, and her left hand is touching his left arm. Her white hair is pulled back from her face, and she is smiling at the camera. She is wearing a dark long-sleeve button-down sweater with a white shirt collar showing just underneath. On her left wrist is a watch. They are posing in front of a hutch with a lamp just visible in the background on the left.
Carl and Lilian, 1956
The back of the brochure, or side two, focuses more on the parts of the park: the Sandburg Home, the barn and trails, how to plan your visit, what you can do, and how to get here.
Side two includes color photographs of sites and things visitors can see in the park today, including a large map identifying all the buildings and places to visit throughout the park.
IMAGE 1 of 3: Nubian goats
This color image features a close-up portrait of two goats. They are Nubian dairy goats with long floppy ears. Each has different coloring but are mostly dark-colored brown or black bodies with white ears and white patches on the nose and face. The goats are mom and kid with mom's face located above her kid. Both are looking at the camera.
Nubian doe and her kid.
IMAGE 2 of 3: Milk bottle cap
This color image features the bottle cap Mrs. Sandburg used to seal the top of her milk storage containers. The view of the cap is from the top. It is a circle shape with a raised loop around the edge. The caps are made of paper-coated in wax, so the background is a parchment paper color and texture. In the middle of the cap is a printed logo. There is a solid green tree, which covers most of the top of the image, which contains white letters saying "Goat Milk Grade." The A in grade is capitalized to mean "grade A." The lower half of the logo includes a line art profile of a dairy goat in the shade of the tree. Under the tree and goat are the printed words "Connemara Farms Flat Rock, N.C."
IMAGE 3 of 3: Goat farm
This color image is a view of the barn and yard from the visitor entrance to the barn area. At the top of the image is a sign which is mounted on the side of a white building on the right. The sign reads "Connemara Farms Goat Dairy." Under the sign in the background, you can see the red barn building, with a small red corn crib in the foreground on the left. In the middle center of the image, there are several goats standing around a visitor. In the lower half of the image, you can see the top of two fence posts and the top of the wire fence used to keep the goats in the barn area.
Goat milk and cheese from Lilian Sandburg's farm were popular throughout the region.
Carl Sandburg’s wife Lilian had a deep interest in goats. But the prize-winning herd she developed in Michigan needed more room and a milder climate.
At Connemara, Lilian Sandburg found what she wanted—a place where her husband could write, and she could raise goats. Here, Lilian earned world fame for her work to improve the herd’s bloodlines and milk production. In 1952, the herd numbered over 200. Helpers milked 50 to 80 does, twice a day. In 1960, the top doe, Jennifer II, produced 5,750 pounds of milk, averaging 2.5 gallons per day. She was all-breed American champion in milk production and the World Toggenburg Champion.
The goats you see at Connemara are descended from Lilian’s herd: Toggenburgs (tan and white), Saanens (white), and Nubians (multi, with long, floppy ears). After a five-month gestation period, kids are born in the spring.
Carl Sandburg’s home may surprise you. The rooms are as the Sandburgs left them —warm, inviting, inspiring, and restful. Books and personal items are scattered about, as if the family will return at any moment from an evening walk. The home is filled with the presence of a spirited man whose writings echo the voice of the American people. Enjoy your visit. The home, farm, and beautiful natural setting will help restore your spirits.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is open daily from 9 am to 5 p.m., except Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1. Allow two hours to see the house and grounds.
This color image is the view of a visitor standing on the front porch of the Sandburg Home, looking away from the home to the mountains in the horizon. Two white porch columns and porch rails frame the view of a lush tree line with a mountain top peeking over the treetops. There is just a hint of gold and amber colors on tree leaves, indicating the season is early fall. The top of the mountain is blue against an overcast sky.
Looking northeast from the front porch.
Begin at the self-serve information station below the parking lot. Find exhibits, rest rooms, and a map here. Then cross the footbridge and walk along the trail that follows the stone wall up the hill to the main house. This 0.3-mile trail climbs 100 feet—the height of a 10-story building. If you are unable to walk to the house, use the telephone in the parking lot or at the information station to call for assistance.
The visitor center is under the porch of the main house. It has films, exhibits, a bookstore, information, and ticket sales for the house tour.
The only way to tour the main house is with a guide. Purchase tickets at the visitor center. A limited number of tickets are available for each tour, and there may be a waiting period. You may watch the films and see the grounds until your tour begins.
Explore the farm buildings on your own, or visit the goats, tour the dairy, or walk the trails. Five miles of trails—short or long, easy or vigorous—lead you to quiet spots in the forest or atop Glassy Mountain.
The park has much to offer year-round. Baby goats are born in spring. In May, the Folk Music Festival presents works from Sandburg’s The American Songbag. In summer, attend cheesemaking demonstrations, musical events, poetry readings, and performances by the Vagabond Players. In autumn, enjoy cooler temperatures and colorful foliage on the mountains. Winter offers a welcome stillness on snowy days.
Please stay alert and observe these regulations.
• Stay on established walks and trails—many trails have slippery, uneven surfaces and exposed tree roots. Be careful on steps and atop Glassy Mountain.
• Be gentle with the goats. They can be frightened if someone yells or pokes at them. Keep your fingers away from their mouths. Stay with your small children; goats may accidentally knock them down.
• Wash hands, especially those of young children, after visiting the barn area.
• Be careful around ponds and lakes. Swimming, wading, and fishing are prohibited.
• Watch out for poison ivy, ticks, snakes, and stinging insects.
• Do not climb on fences or trees.
• Pets must be leashed at all times and must stay outside the barnyard and buildings. Please clean up after your pet.
• Fire risk on a farm is high; smoking is prohibited in buildings and discouraged in the park.
• Federal laws protect all natural and cultural features in the park.
• For firearms regulations, check the park website.
Emergencies call 911
The park, in Flat Rock, NC, is 30 miles south of Asheville, NC, and 35 miles north of Greenville, SC. From I-26, take exit 53 and follow park signs. From US 25, take exit 5 and follow park signs.
This poem is set under the first column of text and is in bold blue typeface:
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
– Carl Sandburg
This color image is a scene from a play performed at the park each summer at the amphitheater. The top half of the image shows a small stage with a large National Park Service arrowhead logo on the back wall of the right side of the stage. In front of the wall are five actors in poses from the song they are singing. They are dressed in blue overalls with bright solid-colored shirts of blue, green, red, and yellow. One of the actors is in front of the others and is wearing a gold helmet-style hat, gold wings and gold long-fingered gloves. The lower half of the image shows the audience as they watch the performance on the stage.
The vagabond players.
The sun on the hills is beautiful,
Or a captured sunset sea-flung,
Bannered with fire and gold.
– Carl Sandburg
This color image is a view of two visitors walking down a trail within the park. The trail leads away into the woods, and the back of the visitors are almost out of view as they walk around a bend in the trail. Tall dark trunks of trees line the trail path on either side with thick leaves and needles hanging down from branches. The trail path at the bottom of the photo is an earthy surface with bright sunlit patches coming through the trees.
Visitors stroll along the park’s quiet trail.
This color image is located under the first column of text. It features an adult female dairy goat standing next to a young boy who has him arm around her. The goat is in front of the boy with its body and head in profile looking to the right of the page. The goat is dark brown in color with patches of white on its body, white long floppy ears, a white forehead and nose. The breed of goat is Nubian. The young boy is the same height as the goat and only his head and shoulders and legs can be seen from behind the goat. He has a broad smile on his face while his right arm is slung over the goat. He is wearing a red tank top, red shorts, red socks and blue shoes.
A young visitor makes friends with a Nubian.
This image is a map of the core visitor use areas of the park. The bottom of the map starts at the main visitor parking lot and shows how visitors can access park trails and facilities. Roads and walking paths are identified through text and symbols. The map shows that there is a 1/3-mile walk from the parking lot, with 100 feet uphill change in elevation to reach the Sandburg Home. If you are unable to walk to the home, call for assistance on the park phone in the parking lot. There are 25 buildings marked by numbers on the map with titles identifying their names and uses. Those include main attractions such as the Amphitheater, the Main House, the Chicken House, the Farm Manager's House, Buck House, Isolation Quarters, Barn Garage, Buck Kid Quarters, Goat Barn, Horse Barn, and Milkhouse. While the map does not show the entire trail system, it does mark trailheads and distances for the trails. Pastures and woods are noted in varying shades of green; light green for open pastures and dark green for the woods. Lakes and streams are noted in blue.
Numbers on this map correspond to numbered posts in front of buildings on the self-guided tour.
We strive to make our facilities, services and program accessible to all; call or check our website. Shuttle service may be available; call to inquire from park phones at the information station or parking lot.
Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site is one of over 400 areas in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks and National Park Service programs, visit www.nps.gov.
81 Carl Sandburg Lane, Flat Rock, NC 28731