The Carl Sandburg Home is a 265-acre estate encompassing the private residence of Carl and Lilian Sandburg, their Dairy Goat Farm and 5 miles (8 km) of beautiful trails.
Carl and Lilian Sandburg bought the Connemara estate in October of 1945 after a long search.
Living in Harbert, Michigan, they were looking for a property in a warmer climate, which had to be peaceful and quiet with a lot of acreage for Lilian to raise her prize-winning dairy goats.
The Sandburgs moved from their old house in Michigan with 42,000 pounds (19,000 kg) of personal belongings including Carl Sandburg’s extensive 10,000-book library.
In the 22 years until his passing in 1967, Carl Sandburg in this home published more than a third of his works and won the second Poetry Pulitzer Prize for Complete Poems in 1951.
After her husband’s death in 1967, Lilian Sandburg decided to sell the estate to the U.S. government to preserve the house and the estate in her husband’s memory.
“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.”
Located on the property, the Connemara Dairy Goat Farm is open to visitors.
The goats, that roam the farm, are all true descendants of Lilian Sandburg’s champion goats.
The goats are very tame and used to visitors socializing with them.
After the estate became a national historic site in 1968, the goats, which were once raised by Lilian, were declared an Historic Herd by the U.S. Government.
The goats represent the three breeds Lilian Sandburg had raised.
There is also an old shed, which can be visited.
The shed houses old farm equipment and also Carl Sandburg’s personal Jeep.
Across from the shed is the Vegetable Garden.
Several walking trails connect from here.
If you want to enjoy Carl and Lilian Sandburg’s most favorite mountain view, a 1.2-mile (2 km) hike takes you up to Big Glossy Mountain along a wide yet fairly steep trail.
A few benches are located at intervals for visitors to take a break.
The views from the top of Big Glossy Mountain are stunning.
“We found that our land goes up ... to the very top of Big Glossy Mountain - at least a mile of real climbing from the house. The timber seems endless ... We did not just buy two-hundred and forty-five acres when we bought Connemara, we bought a million acres of sky, too!”
- Lilian Sandburg
Off the main trail atop Big Glossy Mountain and secluded behind trees is the mausoleum of Roger Richardson Hill (1882-1927), a successful real estate developer.
At age 43 and suffering from tuberculosis, he bought 85 acres on Big Glossy Mountain and lived there in a tent between late spring and fall of 1926, before he moved to a drier climate in El Paso, Texas, where he died on January 1, 1927.
In his will, he wished to be laid to rest on Big Glossy Mountain and set aside 5 acres for a mausoleum.
The Carl Sandburg Home is run by the National Park Service and combines a 264-acre park with the house itself, where you can join one of the guided tours, which run every 30 minutes.
Currently, the house is going through extensive renovation until 2018. All furnishings have been temporarily removed until the work is completed. Guided tours are still available during the restoration but it may be worth calling ahead to see what is on display in the house.
In addition to the home, there is also the Connemara Dairy Goat Farm, which can be toured. The goats, that roam the farm, are all true descendants of Lilian Sandburg’s champion goats. They are very tame and used to visitors. Some old farm equipment is also on display in the shed.
If you have time, you may want to visit the 264-acre park and hike some of the trails and enjoy the beauty of the landscape and picturesque views. Admission to the park is free. The extensive grounds have over 5 miles of trails. For a beautiful panoramic view of the valleys and mountains you would need to climb the fairly steep 1.2-mile trail to the top of Big Glossy Mountain. Please use your own discretion.
During the summer the park offers many life performances featuring stories of the Sandburgs.
The Sandburgs had been looking for a property in a warmer climate for a while. It should be peaceful and quiet with a lot of acreage for Lilian to raise her prize-winning dairy goats. They found this property in the 264-acre Connemara estate, which they bought in October of 1945.
The Sandburgs moved from their old house in Harbert, Michigan with 42,000 pounds (19,000 kg) of personal belongings including Carl Sandburg’s extensive 10,000-book library.
During the 22 years until his passing in 1967, Carl Sandburg published more than a third of his works and won the second Poetry Pulitzer Prize for Complete Poems in 1951 while living there.
In 1919 Carl Sandburg had won his first Pulitzer Prize for Corn Huskers and in 1940 the Pulitzer Prize for History for The War Years, the second volume of his Abraham Lincoln biography (1926).
In 1927 Carl Sandburg published his widely popular collection of American folksongs, which went through several editions over the years.
After her husband’s death in 1967, Lilian Sandburg decided to sell the estate to the U.S. government to preserve the house and the estate in her husband’s memory. In 1968 the home became a national historic site and opened to the public in 1974 as Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. The goats, which were once raised by Lilian, were declared an Historic Herd by the U.S. Government. Their descendants can still be visited in the Goat Barn.
The house and the park are a great place to learn about this great American poet. Or visit the descendants of Lilian Sandburg’s goats in the Goat Barn.
Wonderful trails go through the 264-acre park. Enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the picturesque views.
Seasonal shuttle service from the parking area to the house and farm is available. Please contact the park ranger through one of the two phones (one by the accessible parking spaces and one by the lake’s restrooms) to arrange a pick-up.
Picnic area is close to the Contact Station near the entrance to the park. No concessions are sold in the park. Therefore, you would need to bring your own food and drinks. However, two fountains are available to re-fill water bottles.
Video room is at the ground level. Each film is 12 minutes or less.
Restrooms are available near the main house and at the Contact Station.