Want to travel back in time, visit the Miller Homestead at RM State Park
Published 1:45 pm Thursday, May 19, 2022
Among the upcoming events taking place at Roan Mountain State Park is Farmstead Friday, which is being held May 27 as well as tours of the Miller Farmstead at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and again on May 28 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m.
The Miller Farmstead includes a well-maintained house that was built around 1907, a barn, root cellar and other buildings that were once part of a subsistence farm on 200 acres of land in the foothills of the Roan Massif.
The farmstead is a popular place, and school groups often tour the farm to observe life in a time before modern electric conveniences.
The Millers began working the farm around 1870. That was when Dave and Louise Miller first circled their wagon here. Their son Nathaniel built the current farmhouse around 1907 with the help of family and friends. When the Millers first came to Roan Mountain, they rented the property from Gen. John T. Wilder. Gen. Wilder had extensive holdings in the decades following the Civil War, including iron ore mines and a hotel near the Cloudland rhododendron grades on top of Roan Mountain.
The family farm was remote and the Millers became self-sufficient. The family used a wagon road that followed a path similar to the park road to the farm today. The family also used a road to nearby Ripshin.
Many still meander through the mansion to do a little retro reminiscing. Then, out to the barnyard where rustic farming equipment is on display. Around back there’s other nostalgic structures, even a chicken house. And up on the hill, the Miller family cemetery. The farm is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Three generations of Millers lived at the homestead for 90 years.
The house underwent some renovations in 2016, including replacing the foundation, which was beginning to sink.
Visitors can meet park staff at the farmstead porch for a guided walk through the home and outbuildings. Tours are free, but donations are appreciated and will be used to improve and maintain the homestead.
“It’s just a great way of taking a step back in time,” Amanda Morgan of the Roan Mountain Park staff said. “It’s a glimpse at how people lived before the days of modern conveniences.”