Life of the Pioneers
The Center for Pioneer Life creates a genuine homestead environment where exhibits and programs provide a detailed understanding of early American pioneer life.
Southern Appalachia in the revolutionary and post-colonial eras was the seeding ground of much of what we identify as basic American values today. The ingenuity and hard labor of the pioneers who came to the Appalachian Mountains in the formative days of the United States not only shaped the region but also influenced and informed the future of the country. The pioneer settlement of the region in the 19th century provides a lens into this specific region at a crucial time as the country struggled to meld diverse immigrant and indigenous experiences and cultures into a distinct entity known as the United States.
Through immersion in experiential programs designed to show the pioneers’ struggles and achievements, visitors get a lasting sense of the details of early American and Appalachian history and a larger understanding of the country as a whole.
Read an essay by Dan Estabrook about immersive learning at the Center for Pioneer Life.
Farm tours are available by appointment.
Josiah and Frances Ray Young Cabin
Tour this cabin (circa 1847) with period furnishings
Discover why pork was essential to pioneer survival
Learn about butter, cheese, meat, and milking
Find out how corn, potatoes, and squash are grown
Hayfield and Haystacks
Learn about storing winter food for the animals
Chickens and Hen House
Experience chickens as a mainstay
See a collection of essential pioneer farm tools
Spring House/Spring Box
Learn about early forms of refrigeration
Observe the preparation of logs for construction
Find out about the essentials of corn & corn storage