Rocky Creek Ranch, composed of approximately 250 acres of grasslands and 250+ acres of natural trees, is located in Statesville, NC towards the northern part of Iredell County. Most of our neighbors are large third or fourth generation family farmers. Rocky Creek Ranch has a long and interesting history.
Around 1850, Baker E. Holland, a wagon maker and farmer, built a house that became known as the Baker Summers House. The Greek revival structure was constructed on the Old Stagecoach Road (later called The Georgia Road) which ran from Elkin, NC to Atlanta, GA. The stagecoach passed through the property and directly in front of the house.
According to one tradition, slaves constructed the house from bricks made of clay found in a nearby field. We have reclaimed 3 pallets of the red bricks and plan to recycle them at each sensory station, and for other projects around the farm. Baker Holland also constructed a two story mill on Little Rocky Creek. We have four of the five millstones displayed on the property. The chimney and foundation of the mill are still visible on the creek. Sadly, the house, which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was removed in 2001 during construction of the current barns and riding arena. The foundation of the home is now the site for our Amphitheater at Station A.
Baker E. Holland (1806-1866) was the son of a Maryland wagon maker, Basil Holland, who had come to Iredell County sometime in the first half of the nineteenth century. Baker followed his father’s trade, at least for a time. The 1850 population census lists him as a wagon maker but he does not appear on the industrial census. By 1860 he was devoting most of his efforts to farming, and he is listed as a farmer in the census of that year. His real estate at that time consisted of 75 acres of improved land and 300 acres of unimproved land with a total value of $3,000. Along with his chief crops of wheat and corn, he raised a number of livestock including 25 swine. He also owned one female slave.
Baker died in 1866 and the house and farm passed to D.H. Perry, an in-law. It subsequently went to S.A. Fowler and then to John I. Douglas in 1899. The Douglas family sold the land to Thomas P. Summers in 1903. Summers was an Iredell County farmer who had served in the Confederate Army. He left the house to his granddaughter Elsie P. Hall who sold the property to the Mattei family in 1999. The Mattei family spent over a decade constructing a beautiful family retreat on the property. They acquired additional land parcels, built roads and infrastructure, a small lake, planted many trees and completed eight miles of trails. We acquired the property in October 2012. Elsie Hall’s son Sam Hall and his wife Janet still live opposite us and are a great source for local history and stories.
We feel fortunate to have access to a property that is rich in historical value and natural wonder. Aside from the large variety of plants and animals that call the property home, the peacefulness of the space provides all who visit a chance to truly benefit from our natural environment.