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 3 meals a day at their lovely home and farm. At one point, the charge for this would be $5 a week per person.
Some boarders stayed in the beautiful hand made brick farm house (finished in 1880) while others roomed in the “annex”, an 11 room house built by the brothers in 1923.
Farm chores, rocking chairs, cool evenings, square dances, Sunday ice cream… all these and more kept visitors coming year after year.
After their mother died, Vernon and Leander shared their time and talents to help the children of Henderson County. They helped landscape West Henderson High School and designed and supervised the building of the football stadium there. They gave many acres of farm land for the building of a new school, Rugby Middle School. At their deaths, their lovely home and farm was given to the schools with the dream of a heritage education facility.
That dream is coming true. Now placed on the National Register of Historic Places, Historic Johnson Farm represents the changing economics of the area from agricultural to tourism and interprets a way of life that is fast disappearing across America – that of the family farm.
School children from Henderson County Schools make regular visits to the farm, learning about old ways and times with activities designed around their particular curriculum.