A glimpse into family farm life of the early 1900s.

The Foothills Farmstead is a living-history farm under construction on 16 acres of land in Oakway, SC. It is the brainchild of Nick Gambrell a man who lives, works and breathes history.  The Foothills Farmstead is a non-profit organization Gambrell formed in 2017 with the intent of re-creating a working farm representing agrarian life in the early 1900s.

Site map courtesy of Nick Gambrell

The Foothills Farmstead will offer a glimpse of a bygone time when families worked the land to feed and sustain themselves.  Visitors will learn what life was like in this area a century ago when homesteads in the rural south relied on tenant farmers, cotton gins, horses and mules to plow the fields and other bygone methods that will be in practice at the farmstead.

photo of horses plowing field
Photo courtesy of the Foothills Farmstead facebook page

Once completed, the Foothills Farmstead will include historical buildings moved from sites where they have been abandoned or were under threat of modern development.  Visitors will get to tour historic structures including the main house, tenant houses, barns, general store, school and grist mill.

The cornerstone of the farmstead is the main house, a farmhouse built by Gambrell’s ancestors in the 1920s.

vintage of the Foothills Farmstead main house
Main House image from the Foothills Farmstead facebook page

The house was located on property where the current owners wanted it moved.  Gambrell and his cousin took extensive photographs, painstakingly dismantled the entire structure, labeled each piece and placed it in storage while the next phase is underway. The process of moving the main farmhouse was made possible thanks to grants from SC Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT), Oconee County, the USDA and Oconee County ATAX.

According to a recent press release Gambrell said: “We are very grateful for the amount of support we have received from the community. It truly is a way to protect and educate future generations about this region’s history. Most of the work thus far has been behind the scenes and offsite but now visitors can come and follow the progress of the main farmhouse as it is rebuilt. From almost a mile away, this house was numbered, photographed, drawn, deconstructed and stored until now.”

To bring the master plan to reality, the Foothills Farmstead is seeking help from the public every step of the way forward.  Volunteers are highly encouraged to help any way they can.  Here’s a link to a recent story featured on WSPA 7 News where Gambrell is interviewed about the Foothills Farmstead and the need for volunteers to join the efforts.

The public is invited to visit the Foothills Farmstead every Saturday between 10am and Noon.

The Foothills Farmstead was awarded a Bridge Grant from SC Humanities that will enable it to open to the public each Saturday for one year.  The grant stipulated that admission must be charged.  To make it affordable for everyone, the Foothills Farmstead has set the admission price at $1.00 per person.

Enter the Foothills Farmstead from School House Road (across the road from the Oakway Fire Department).

For more information, visit www.foothillsfarmstead.org, follow their Facebook page or email to info@oldoakway.com.

Modern times call for modern ways for patrons to support cultural endeavors such as this.

There will be hurdles, roadblocks and high costs involved with this project.  The organization has gotten creative with fundraising and membership benefits.  The Foothills Farmstead is using an online platform called Patreon as their “virtual donation jar”.  The weekly farmstead news is available on Patreon, as are posts, videos, gifts, and more. You can help further the Foothills Farmstead along for as little as $3 per month.

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