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. 


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Josiah and Frances Ray Young Cabin

Tour this cabin (circa 1847) with period furnishings



Discover why pork was essential to pioneer survival


Simulation Cow

Learn about butter, cheese, meat, and milking


Vegetable Garden

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


Tool Shed

See a collection of essential pioneer farm tools


Spring House/Spring Box

Learn about early forms of refrigeration


Log Yard

Observe the preparation of logs for construction


Corn Crib

Find out about the essentials of corn & corn storage



Farm tours are available by appointment.