The Georgia State Parks, and other state parks, are not strictly just natural sites, but also sites of historic importance or a way for us to understand a way of life or culture different than our own. Jarrell Plantation State Historic Site allows visitors to see how a small scale plantation was owned and operated. Although the history and image surrounding plantations is often tainted due to the cruel practice of slavery, plantations were also a part of history, a way of life, and they help us understand what it was like to work and live on a farm. Jarrell Plantation State Historic Site is located a couple hours south of Atlanta, making for a nice little day trip to explore history and be in a more natural setting.
Typically when we imagine a plantation, we probably envision a massive antebellum mansion with fields for miles and miles. The Jarrell Plantation was not an enormous plantation; however, it was not a small family farm either and had a variety of crops and goods it produced. Farming, particularly small family farms, was a major part of US history, and now something so crucial to the formation of our country is, in a way, forgotten about by most people as farming has become a more massive industry. The Jarrell Plantation allows visitors to learn more about farming and life on a farm.
The farm was owned by the Jarrell family for over 140 years until it was donated to the state of Georgia to help visitors understand life on the farm and US history. The purpose of the farm and the crops produced changed over time, helping visitors to understand the impacts of supply and demand. Initially, the plantation farmed primarily crops, but its output began to change over time, using more machinery with an emphasis on foresting. Visitors will begin in the visitor center and have the ability to watch a short video on farming and the history of the Jarrell Plantation. The video will tell you more about the family and life on the farm. There is also a small museum to learn more about farming before going out and exploring for yourself. Afterwards, visitors will get to go out and walk around, experiencing first hand what a working farm really looks like. There are several houses that the family lived in and a variety of farming buildings including a sawmill, cotton gin, gristmill, shingle mill, planer, sugar cane press, syrup evaporator, workshop, and barn for visitors to explore. The farm offers a diverse range of buildings to explore, helping you understand the various goods a farm could produce and what was involved in producing goods such as syrup. Visitors simply follow a loop trail that takes them to each of the buildings on the grounds. We were off exploring the plantation for a little over an hour and really enjoyed learning about farming and what daily life living on a farm really looks like.