One of the best small town festivals in the south!
Did you know that before Rockbrook was a summer camp it was well known in the area as a working farm? Henry P. Clarke, the father of Nancy Carrier, camp founder, was a well respected farmer in Brevard. After doing some research we have found that Mr. Clarke bred chickens, shorthorn cattle and even raised dogs. There was a large garden plot, muscadine grape vines and a dairy that was run by a family member of Mr. Clarke. When Rockbrook was founded in 1921 the farm provided all of the food and meat for the whole camp!
While doing the research on the farm, we came across Mr. Clarke’s name in several publications. We learned that Mr. Clarke operated a kennel called Brevard Kennel. Here is a snippet from The Field Dog Book:
We also discovered an interesting advertisement in the back of The Country Gentlemen Magazine for Rockbrook Farms Shorthorn Cattle. Check out the ad as well as a birthing record of two of the cows Lady Mell and Minerva.
It is clear that Mr. Clarke was a man of many talents! In our next blog we will share a great article about Mr. Clarke “saving the farming season” with his new modern tractor.
As we walk the paths and trails of Rockbrook we are always excited to find unusual species of plants and flowers. On a recent walk, Rockbrook alumnae Barrie B. and Maggie K. spotted this orchid, known as the The Showy Orchid. The Latin name is Galearis Spectabilis. While they are not rare in NC, they are on the endangered list in SC and several other states. The Showy Orchid grows in deciduous forests and can typically be found growing on rocks. It flowers in the spring, the bloom lasting 2-3 months. When the campers arrive in a few short weeks, the orchids will still be putting on a beautiful show. Thanks you Maggie for sharing this photograph with us!
If you missed our last wildflower report, check out this recent blog post on the Trout Lilies that grow at RBC.
Check out this “Land of Waterfalls” video, filmed last fall here in Brevard.
There was a buzz around Brevard last week when the movie, ‘The Hunger Games’, hit the big screen due to it’s North Carolina connection! Did you know that many scenes of the film were filmed right in our own Dupont State Forest? We have been leading trips to Dupont for many years, so odds are good if you have spent time at Rockbrook you have been to at least one of the beautiful waterfalls shown in the film.
Another interesting local opportunity is to take part in a Hunger Games Fan Tour. The tours will take you around the area and show you the highlighted locations from the movie. You even get to try out your hand at archery, hiking and fishing to see how you would fare as a Hunger Games tribute.
We here in Brevard have always known our area was special, but it looks like the word has gotten out! And remember… “May the odds be ever in your favor!”
The Transylvania County Library recently contributed over 200 photographs and newspapers to the North Carolina Digital Library. The digital library includes a searchable database of the entire NC Digital Heritage Center Archives. With the ability to search images and newspapers from the early days of Brevard, we have had a great time finding out more about the history of Rockbrook and it’s founder, Nancy Clarke Carrier.
Our first article we discovered is from the Sylvan Valley News, Brevard’s first newspaper which was published from the 1890’s until 1916. The article is from May, 1908.
Nancy Clarke was 19 years old at the time of this tournament. We know from past research that she was a student at Columbia College for Women, so possibly this was a school sponsored tournament? As mentioned in a previous blog post, The Rockbrook House featured a tennis court in the side yard. Perhaps this is where Nancy honed her tennis skills?
When Rockbrook was founded in 1921, tennis was one of the activities offered that first season. With our new insight into Mrs. Carrier and her love of tennis, it is no surprise that she would include it in the activity roster. We continue to offer tennis today and know Mrs. Carrier would be proud to see her legacy continued! Stay tuned for more from the digital archives.
The holidays are officially here when Brevard celebrates with the annual Holiday Parade and Twilight Tour. If you are in the area come on over to Brevard this weekend and join the fun. The Twilight Tour will be held on Saturday, December 4 from 11-4 in the downtown shopping district. Highlights of the day will include carriage rides, carolers, live music at the courthouse, dancers, local vendors and of course, a visit from Santa.
Visit The Heart of Brevard for more information. We hope to see you there!
Brevard is famous as the home of the white squirrel and rumor has it that there may even be a Rockbrook connection! Check out this recent article from The Blue Ridge Times for a fascinating look at the history of the white squirrel, Nancy Carrier and PT Barnum. Sounds like a great idea for a movie doesn’t it?
The white squirrels are such a celebrated part of Brevard there is even a White Squirrel Festival in Brevard which is held every Memorial Day Weekend. It celebrates our famous wildlife with music, art, dance and even a white squirrel derby race. Come join us for a rocking White Squirrel Weekend.