Indiana couple wins award for preserving farm dating to 1821


COMMISKEY, Ind. (AP) — A southeastern Indiana couple has won a rural preservation award for their efforts to preserve a farm founded in 1821 by a man who lived on the site for a time in a hollow tree.

Betty and Gerald Manning were awarded the 2020 John Arnold Award for Rural Preservation from Indiana Landmarks and Indiana Farm Bureau for their role in preserving Stream Cliff Farm.

The farm, located in Jennings County near the rural community Commiskey, boasts a collection of 19th-century buildings that initially supported traditional farming operations, the News and Tribune reported.

But today the farm, located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Louisville, Kentucky, houses the Mannings’ herb and flower business, restaurant, winery and special events venue in the farm’s repurposed buildings.

Betty Manning and her husband took on the farm, which had been in Betty’s family since the late 1800s, shortly after they married in 1965. They took it in a new direction in the early 1970s when they started selling crafts, cornhusk dolls and dried florals. The restaurant, winery and other farm enterprises followed later.

“We were practicing agritourism before it had a name,” Betty Manning said.

The farm’s origins date to 1821, when James Harmon moved from Maine to Indiana, where he established the farm using a land grant awarded to his father, a Revolutionary War veteran.

Harmon reportedly lived in a hollow tree while he built a barn and baked bricks to construct his farmhouse. The property survived a stop by Confederate soldiers during Gen. John Hunt Morgan’s raid through southern Indiana in 1863 during the Civil War.