Take a moment to think back to what life was like in the early 1900s. Most people alive today would not be able to imagine that because they were not even born yet. However, if you would like to get a taste of the world, and how one lived during the 1930s, you can step back in time by visiting America’s 39th president, Jimmy Carter’s childhood home. It is built to resemble the home that Carter grew up in, before electricity or underfloor heating.
Jimmy Carter’s childhood home
Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States, serving from 1977 to 1981. He was born on October 1, 1924, in Plains, Georgia. Carter was the son of James Earl Carter Sr. and Lillian Gordy Carter. His mother was a registered nurse, and his father was a businessman turned farmer. James Carter bought some land in Plains in 1928, which included a house. The land has since been named Boyhood Farm where he and his siblings, Gloria, Ruth, and William, grew up.
Jimmy Carter remembered the day they first arrived at their new house. His father had left the key behind, so they were stuck on the porch. In his book, “An Hour Before Daylight,” Carter recalled the incident. “The front door was locked when we got there, and daddy realized that he had forgotten the key. He tried to raise one of the windows that opened onto the front porch, but a wooden bar on the inside let it come up only about six inches. So he slid me through the crack and I came around to unlock the door from the inside. The approval of my father for my first useful act has always been one of my most vivid memories,” he wrote.
A working Farm
The house was very rural when they first moved in. There was no electricity or indoor heating. During the cold months of the year, they would warm up the house with a wood-burning fireplace or stove. Additionally, they didn’t have a bathroom inside, which meant they had to traipse outside to the outhouse every time they wanted to bathe. When they finally got a bathroom inside the house, everyone was excited. Not even the freezing cold water they had to shower with was enough to ruin it.
Jimmy Carter’s childhood home was a working farm. His father worked the lands, planting cotton, corn, peanuts, and sugarcane. Jimmy was expected to do his part around the house and the farm. As you walk into the house, there is a black desk. There, Jimmy and his siblings would find a note from his mother every day which listed all the chores he had to have done. They called this desk “mother,” because she was often away from home due to long hours working as a nurse.
There was a farm store on Boyhood Farm, which was run by Earl Carter Sr. The closest town was too far for most of the locals to get to, so most people frequented the Carter store. They could buy grains, canned food, general household goods, and clothing items.
Rebuilt to its rural heydays
The house was sold in 1949 to Richard Downer. They lived and worked on the farm until 1994. From there, the National Parks bought 17 acres of the 360 acres. It has since been restored to its original state. That means all electric points were removed, and the old shower that included a bucket with holes for the shower head was reinstalled.
Thousands of Americans and other international tourists visit the house on Boyhood Farm every year. They can get a glimpse into the rural life that one of the US presidents grew up in. Today, peanuts, cotton, and sugar cane crops are still grown at certain times of the year. Additionally, there are some farm animals still living on the farm, including chickens, goats, mules, and barn cats. They even have some honey bees making some delicious honey.
Keep Reading: Jimmy Carter built a solar farm in his hometown and it now powers half of the entire city
- “Jimmy Carter’s Boyhood Farm.” JimmyCarter. .
- “The Boyhood Farm.” NPS.
- “Jimmy Carter’s childhood home remains how it was when he lived there.” WSB Radio. Berndt Peterson. February 23, 2023