After a short walk down the Rockfeller Trail at Long Valley Farm access, visitors will come to a large, two-story house. The Rockefeller house, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, overlooks the scenic millpond. James Stillman Rockefeller, a man of many accomplishments whose life spanned 102 years through some of the most eventful decades of the American history, used this property as a winter getaway. His thoughtful foresight contributed to the creation of Carvers Creek State Park. Upon his death on August 10, 2004, his estate left the 1,420 acres of Long Valley Farm to The Nature Conservancy for protection and preservation. In 2010, the conservancy gifted this land to the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation.
Park plans for the house
The master plan for Carvers Creek State Park envisions this house as a multiuse educational and community center, to include exhibits interpreting the story of the Overhills Estate and Long Valley Farm and the natural history and cultural lore of the park itself. Its rooms could function as classrooms, conference rooms, and venues for special occasions. Aside from offering staff office space and a ranger contact area, the house would be available for the public to rent for weddings, family reunions, corporate retreats, community meetings, and similar functions.
Renovation of the Rockefeller house is being completed in stages. The first stage has been completed with installation of new roof and shingles. Plans for the second stage involve all needed repairs to the exterior, including replacement of anything missing, broken, or rotting. The next step will be repairs to the interior. Major work must be completed to the electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems.
The Rockfeller house is a wonderful historical resource that holds much promise for the local community and the state park. The Division's hopes for the house will require a great deal of planning, approvals, funding, and work. There is no timetable for completion, but we are moving forward.
James Stillman Rockefeller was born June 8, 1902, in New York to William Goodsell Rockefeller and Elise Stillman. Rockefeller was born into a family of wealth. His grandfather William Rockefeller and great uncle John Davidson Rockefeller were founders of Standard Oil of Ohio in 1870.
Rockefeller attended Yale University, where he was elected into Phi Beta Kappa and Yale's secret society, Scroll and Key. He became captain of the Yale rowing team and won a gold medal at the 1924 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. That same year, he graduated from Yale and appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on July 7. After college, he worked at a bank called Brown Brothers before moving to National City Bank.
On April 15, 1925, he married Nancy Campbell Sherlock Carnegie, daughter of Andrew Carnegie II and Bertha Sherlock. The first of their four children was born in 1926. Their names are James Stillman Rockefeller, Jr.; Nancy Sherlock Carnegie Rockefeller; Andrew Carnegie Rockefeller; and Georgia Stillman Rockefeller.
Rockefeller acquired Long Valley Farm in 1937. He soon hired George McNeil to manage the farm, and they got started right away on construction of the house. The house was completed in May 1938. The location was very convenient for Rockefeller while he was stationed at Fort Bragg as a lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Airborne Command during World War II.
After the war, Rockefeller returned to his banking career and helped merge First National Bank of New York with First National City, which is now called Citibank. He was president of this bank from 1952 to 1959 and chairman from 1959 to 1967. He also became a director of Pan American World Airways, Northern Pacific Railroad, National Cash Register, and Monsanto.
Long Valley Farm was his winter estate. He visited here on long weekends throughout the year and during holidays to get away from the hustle and bustle of New York City. He would spend his days working on the farm, swimming in the millpond, and enjoying the scenery. His permanent residence was in Greenwich, Conn., and was much more grand than the house here.
Mrs. Rockefeller died in 1994 after 69 years of marriage. On August 5, 2004, Rockefeller suffered a stroke. Per his wishes, he was not placed on life support and passed away 5 days later at the age of 102. In his final years, he was the oldest living Olympic Gold Medal recipient.
James Stillman Rockefeller donated his time and money to many causes such as the American Museum of Natural History, New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and many environmental organizations. The Rockefeller family created and funded a nonprofit conservation organization called Overhills Foundation. In 2011, this foundation granted funds to help educate the public and to preserve the historic significance of Long Valley Farm. This money has helped purchase educational materials, such as the interpretive panels you see along the trails, books, canoes, fishing gear, and much more. Some grant money will also assist with the renovation of the Rockefeller house.
Do you want to host your event at Carvers Creek State Park?
Some large events such as weddings, athletic contests, company parties, etc. may require a Special Activity Permit.
Please contact the park if you would like to plan an event. You can schedule a tour with a park staff member to plan and learn about fees and other permits: firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-436-4681.
The application for a Special Activity Permit must be submitted at least 14 days in advance of the date of the event to be considered by park staff.