I was given the opportunity to visit a piece of Columbia, Tennessee history. The Hardison Mill Farm. More recently known as The Homestead at Hardison Mill. This old farmhouse has seen a few things over its 152 year life. It was built in 1870 to replace another house that burned on this site. It has seven fireplaces, stone chimneys, and beautiful arched windows.
Hardison’s Mill was built around 1820 by Charles Hardison. The working community had a grist mill, a saw mill, a wool factory, a store, and a post office by 1844. Charles Hardison’s son Calvin eventually took over the mill and this farmhouse is where he and his wife, Sarah called home. In 1897, the Hardisons built a school called Hardison Mill Institute. There were Civil War skirmishes in this area along with a flood that destroyed several of the original structures.
Rory Feek, a singer songwriter who was a bachelor at the time, bought the house in 1999 with royalties from his first hit song, "Some Beach" recorded by Blake Shelton. The home had deteriorated quite a bit in recent years so a lot of work went into bringing it back to life.
He and Joey married in 2002 and formed the country duo Joey + Rory. They won several awards including a Grammy, Dove, and an ACM award. They later made the decision to stay closer to home and homestead instead of spending so much time on the road. They welcomed their sweet Indiana home here to the Hardison Mill Homestead in 2014. Tragically, Joey Feek passed away in 2016 from cancer. She was buried in the Hardison family cemetery on the property. Her spirit is very much alive here even still. Little touches of her are found all around as sweet reminders of her life and how much she meant to Rory. Stay tuned for Part 2!