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In 1964
Transylvania County’s economy was strong. 
The population was just over 16,000. 
Olin, DuPont and Mitchell-Bissell were the leading industrial
employers.  The Rosman Research Station
had opened in late 1963.  The average
weekly earnings for a worker were $98.58, well over the state average of

Although many
farm owners were now working in industry the county was still largely made up
of rural communities and small farms.  Real
estate prices in Brevard were relatively high but farm owners couldn’t sell
their outlying property for enough to entice them to sell and move to
town.  For this reason when Cal and Marge
Carpenter started looking for 10-15 acres there wasn’t much available.

Carpenter had
over 20 years of service with the U.S. Air Force.  He had taken night ground school classes with
the Civilian Pilot program at Brevard College in 1940, served in WWII as a
pilot and continued his military career as a meteorologist.  He had been raised in Canton and Marge was
from Yancey County.  Their dream was to
retire to a small farm in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

In July 1964
real estate agent Frank King showed them a place with 70 acres, a little trout
lake and over half a mile of French Broad River frontage off Lions Mountain
Road east of Rosman.   The place was
larger than they had in mind but they immediately fell in love with it and
purchased the property within a few days.

It was two
years before Colonel Clarence Carpenter retired and Cal and Marge settled into
their new home and lifestyle.  During the
summer of 1966 they lived in a small cabin on the property while renovating the
main house.  They grew a large garden and
had a variety of animals.  In addition, Carpenter
was a writer. 

Cotton and her half-Arabian colt, Sweetheart,

as illustrated by Constance Griffin.

Beginning in
October 1967 he wrote a popular weekly column, “From ALMAR Farm in Transylvania”,
for the Transylvania Times.  He shared stories of his and Marge’s
misadventures as they adapted to country life. 
The main characters were often the cats, dogs, cattle, chickens, geese
and wild Russian boars on the farm.  Readers
were introduced to “Moms” Cat; Cotton, a palomino horse; border collie-huskie
mix, Butch and his side-kick Haole, “a big, raw-boned brindle.”

Griffin’s illustration of loading hay into the barn loft.

He described
his stories as “about quiet, peaceful things—retired life on a farm, reminiscences
of a good past, and an occasional bit of philosophy intended only to enhance
the subject matter, not to convince anyone of anything.”  In 1969 Carpenter published, The Best from
ALMAR Farm in Western North Carolina

The book
features black-and-white illustrations by Constance Griffin, a nationally known
artist living in Cedar Mountain.

Cal Carpenter
is also the author of The Walton War and Tales of the Great Smoky Mountains
and Take the Wings of Morning, a novel of a Western North Carolina
preacher turned WWI fighter pilot.  All
three books are available at the Transylvania County Library. 

Photographs and
information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library.  Visit
the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about
our history and see additional photographs. 
For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at
[email protected] or
828-884-3151 X242.

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(828) 884-3151

212 S Gaston St, Brevard, NC 28712