Taking a step back in time
Franklin County Times
HODGES – There is a place in Franklin County that takes you back in time simply by driving a little off the beaten path and into a forestland where the wildlife roam free.
The Bear Creek Educational Center, also known as Overton Farm, is that place. Some of the original buildings of this historical farm still stand and serve as a living history for students, teachers and other visitors who take the journey.
The first thing you see as you enter the gates is the Thorn House, which is an original pioneer house from the Cedar Lake area, which was saved and relocated to the farm, Center Director Patrick Shremshock said.
"The Thorn House is one of our residential houses," Shremshock said. "It is much more modern on the inside than it looks on the outside."
He added that he once occupied the Thorn House when he first started at the Center.
A little dirt road just below the parking area goes back to the Overton Home place, where Overtons settled to raise their family in the 1800s.
During tours, the house is open for student exploration, and students are given the opportunity to see how a cake was made more than a century ago.
"We bake them [the students] a cake using a Dutch over to give them a glimpse of how life was a century ago," Shremshock said.
The original Overton farm area is complete with an original well, chicken coup, smoke house and root cellar. Barnes and other period buildings were added to the property as well.
Overton Cemetery, which is still an active cemetery, is at the end of the road, overlooking the homestead.
"The cemetery is still used today by the Overton family," Shremshock said. "They have decoration every May."
He added that Overtons from all over flock to the cemetery to remember family members who have passed away.
In addition to the home place, the center offers fishing, hiking, canoeing, archery and cave exploration to the roughly 5,000 visitors who pass through the gates annually.
"We have had visitors from Nashville and Montgomery in addition to the local schools who also visit the Center each year," Shremshock said.
The Bear Creek Education Center opened in 1982, and has been dedicated to preserving the past for our future, all the while helping students get acquainted with the great outdoors.