Rocky Mount Living History Museum

"Where History Comes Alive"

Rocky Mount Museum is a living history site, taking visitors back in time to 1791.  It was the first capital when the area was part of the Southwest Territory. For more information on the special events and educational programs visit the Rocky Mount website.

The Master Gardener Project at Rocky Mount has been growing since it became an official project in 2005.  It started in the vegetable and the Kitchen/Herb Gardens, which have been greatly enhanced the past few years. 

The first thing was to move the comfort station (outhouse) from the middle of the garden, which was totally refurbished in 2017, including three new seats. Next we cut down the trees surrounding the garden to allow more sunlight, added tons of compost and sand to the clay, designed a more formal layout, which was more in keeping with the wealthy, and enclosed it with a period fence, which was rebuilt in 2018.


Next, we built a combination compost pile and cover up for the dumpster. A hot box was built to extend the growing season.


We started a cutting garden for Mrs. Cobb, which was destroyed  when the new American Disability Act sidewalks were installed in early 2018. It is so much easier to push baby strollers or individuals in wheelchairs than it was on the old stone walkways. A new cutting garden has been started and it will be an enhancement to the Cobb house.  

Then we brought the orchards back to a productive feature and removed the overgrowth on the rocks so that they were now a focal point at the entrance of the museum. We repaired fencing and continue to fight the kudzu. We enhanced the entrance and exit to the museum by adding beds, updating the sign and trimming trees.

We have added many native plants and have established a native plant trail. We have completely redesigned the front of the museum adding paver paths and numerous flower beds.

We discovered a dried up pond that was overgrown. We put down a very large liner and filled it up. We added a fence around it, added more native plants, got rid of the poison ivy, built a waterfall, and added a fire pit and picnic area. 


We then enhanced the existing picnic area next to the museum.


We provide garden interpreters for the summer children's camp and for special events at Rocky Mount.

We grow flax that is used to spin linen, broom corn to make brooms, cotton and tobacco. The vegetables and herbs are used in the kitchen for demonstration of cooking in 1791 and the staff and visitors are welcome to our harvest.


Building the retaining wall and fence was a major project done at Rocky Mount.  Those blocks are 42 pounds each.  So who needs to go to a gym? You can just do gardening at Rocky Mount! 

In 2021 Rocky Mount Historical Association was able to buy 15 plus acres across the road from the main site.  With this land and the 5 lots bought from the developer, Rocky Mount has insured no more commercial development will happen across the road.  This land includes a 1940 Tobacco Barn, a large pond and an artesian spring.  Master Gardeners, along with other groups interested in conservation, are very involved in future planning and enhancement of these areas.  

Master Gardeners are in early stages of developing the Sonja Fox McKamey Memorial Garden.  It will have handicap accessible sidewalks, a special infinity garden, and many other raised beds.  The spring will be a key feature of the garden.   

As of fall 2023, the gazebo has been installed in Sonja's garden. Garden areas are filling in, and a new walkway will be installed soon. 

Other ongoing projects involve the development of trails, restoration of native grasslands and the addition of native wildflowers.  Future plans may include a tree nursery, nature lab and green houses.  

The scheduled work day at Rocky Mount is Monday, the day we are closed to the public. Thus we can work in the historical area without being in period dress, and can use modern tools. However, the tools of 1791 are excellent. There are groups and individuals that take care of non- historical areas on other days, or in the evenings  when the museum is closed.

Rocky Mount is a great place to work if you, like many of us working there, are gardeners and lovers of history. .



Iris sp.



Passiflora incarnata



Echinacea tennesseensis

Tennessee Coneflower


Juniperus virginiana

Eastern Red Cedar


Liriodendron tulipifera

Tulip Poplar


Lycopersicon lycopersicum


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