WESTERN KENTUCKY (6/14/14) — Back in the early 1920s, Guy Corley used his WWI bonus check and purchased land in the north end of Christian County.
Using a few mules and his bare hands, Corley worked day and night to build a farm.
“Milt’s grandfather was a veteran of WWI,” said owner Janie Corley. “He used that money and purchased a piece of the farm from his sister. I’m not sure how long she had it, but we think it’s been in the family for almost 100 years.”
Janie said Guy bought other surrounding farms during the depression and worked hard to maintain the farm.
“He bought other farms during the depression,” said Janie. “He would go to Michigan and pick cherries or do whatever he had to, to make sure the farm kept going.”
Guy built barns, fences, raised sheep and chickens and planted crops. He raised a son and watched all his grandchildren grow up on the land.
“His son, Edwin Corley, which was Guy’s only child, worked and helped his father through the years,” said Janie. “My husband, Milton, grew up on a farm just a mile away from here.”
Out of the six grandchildren, the youngest, Milton Corley, temporarily left the farm, but loved it so much, he came back in 1998 and brought his family with him.
“There were six grandchildren none of which wanted the farm,” said Janie. “Before we moved here, Milton was working for an orchard, and, then, we decided, ‘if they can do it, we can do it.’ So, we came back to the farm and talked to Milton’s father, who had quit farming but lived close by. We asked if we could come and farm. That was Milton’s father’s dream… for him to come home and take over the farm.”
They cleaned the farm, built a house, planted pumpkins and then in 2000, invited the public to come visit.
“We actually started farming in 1998, but we didn’t move out here until 1999, after the house was built,” said Janie. “In 2000, we picked a field out here and planted pumpkins, grew a little corn maze, got out a corn sheller, borrowed a few animals and invited school kids.”
That would be the first year Christian Way Farm opened its doors to the public.
“For a few years, we just had the schools come out,” said Janie. “At the time, we thought, that was all we needed, but then, we would have people ask if they could come back. So, we decided to open for the community on Saturdays.”
As time went on, the farm began to improve and expand by adding more animals and activities families could be involved in.
“Sometime around 2004, we decided to expand our business hours into the spring instead of just the fall,” said Janie. “We also got the idea of showing the kids where their food came from. So, we took part of the ground and made these garden plots.”
Every year, there is a different themed farm breakfast children can learn where breakfast foods came from.
“Whatever the theme was that year, we planted those crops,” said Janie. “One year, we had hamburgers; another year, we talked about tacos; and, this year, we are doing breakfast. We even do this thing called ‘sack lunch,’ which is what the farmer grows, so mom can back your lunch.”
The farm continued to grow over the years.
“We just kept growing,” said Janie. “Business was booming. So, we started to have Christian bands come and play in the fall all day; people would cook and sell food. We call this ‘Harvest Praise,’ which is the third Saturday in October.”
A few years ago, another idea was being put into play.
“Well, we started to think we need something else,” said Janie. “Somewhere along the line, the Lord planted a seed about a mini golf course.”
Then, in the summer of 2012, a mini golf course came to life.
“We hired a company out of New Jersey and they gave us the design and contract price, and then they came and in three weeks, they built a course,” said Janie. “They left the landscaping for us to do.”
Janie said as soon as the weather begins to warm up, is when the they open the golf course.
“Now we can stay open during fall, spring and summer,” said Janie. “It’s opened up new dynamics of the type crowd that comes, it’s changed the farm… it’s cool seeing all the different generations that come to visit. There is a little for everyone.”
Janie encourages people to come visit, to sit under a shaded tree, feed some goats, smell the aroma of a pig pen or even plant a seed and pick a pumpkin.Christian Way Farm is located at 19590 Linville Road, Hopkinsville, Ky. For more information, visit http://www.christianwayfarm.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/ChristianWayFarm?ref=br_tf.
SurfKY News Reporter
Photos by Amber Averitt
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