History in the making | Rocky Mount Historic Site expanding with purchase of 15-acre farm

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PINEY FLATS, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Rocky Mount State Historic Site in Piney Flats, Tennessee has exciting news to share – they are expanding.

It is a historic move for the historic site as they have purchased 15 acres of farmland directly across from where the site exists today.

Purchasing this property, and raising more than $435,000 to do so, has been 10 years in the making. The land is part of Tennessee’s oldest documented farm, which was established in 1775.

The property includes an early 1900s red tobacco barn that the Rocky Mount Historical Association (RMHA) plans to restore to its former glory.

Research conducted by the RMHA found that the land was connected to the Cobb/Massengill family. The family is known to be some of the earliest settlers of the area.

As the surrounding areas have continued to see residential development, the association purchased the farm to preserve the historic feel of the land and provide room to expand. A release from the site also states the strip of land will act as a “buffer” between Rocky Mount and nearby housing developments.

“We understand that commercial and residential development are a part of a growing community, but we strongly believe in the importance of preserving our history and ensuring it is never forgotten,” said Cody Boring, executive director of the historic site. “We are proud to have taken this important step to ensure today’s visitors and future generations will continue to experience the special ambiance of our treasured historic site.” 

They plan to add walking trails around the farm’s pond and build an amphitheater on the land for more programming.

“Of course we are looking at how this can be used for different festivals, farmers markets, nature conservancy, all kinds of different community assets that we really need and we are planning those out right now,” Boring said.

Rocky Mount served as the capitol of the Southwest Territory from 1790 to 1792, before Tennessee was even a state.

“When you come to Rocky Mount, you have the capitol, which is a 17th-century building. Also on our properties, we have an 18th-century barn, and now right here across the road we have our 20th-century barn that we believe is going to embody the full history of East Tennessee,” said Boring.

They say to help keep history alive you can make a donation on their website which will help the historic site start on renovations to the new farmland they have acquired.

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