Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Carter Dedicates Boyhood Home House Now a Historic Site

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Carter Dedicates Boyhood Home House Now a Historic Site

Article excerpt

PLAINS, Ga. -- Jimmy Carter dedicated his rural boyhood home as a national historic site yesterday, recalling how his values came from his black neighbors and his possessions were all from Sears Roebuck.

"You can take a 1930 or '32 . . . catalog and figure out everything we owned," Carter said. "As a matter of fact, this house is a Sears Roebuck house."

Restoration of the home in the farming community of Archery, just outside Plains, began in 1994 to show not only how the future president grew up but to preserve an example of rural life in the Depression South.

It is part of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, which includes his high school and the train depot that served as his presidential headquarters.

Carter said the simple, white frame home, built from Sears plans in 1922, was owned by his family from 1928 until 1948.

As he spoke to reporters, the farm's windmill spun in the brisk wind. A mule hitched to a wooden plow stood in the dark, freshly turned soil of a nearby field, pawing the ground.

Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, gave dignitaries, including Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and several members of Congress, a quick tour, then they all joined about 2,000 well-wishers under a giant red-and-white circus tent for a ceremony.

"I'm here to honor a man whose life was shaped by life on a rural farm," Glickman said. "I believe that the family farm is more than an economic unit. It's a place where values are taught and learned -- values like community, integrity, compassion and faith.

"As Jimmy Carter ascended to the very pinnacle of American political life, he not only didn't forget those values, he made them an integral part of his leadership style and governing philosophy."

Carter said seeing the farm as he knew it as a child -- before it had electricity or running water -- was an emotional experience.

Included in the exhibit is the family home, a reconstructed barn and a small store and blacksmith shop operated by the former president's father, Earl Carter.

In Archery, Carter said all his childhood friends and neighbors were black and he often spent the night with a black family, sleeping on the floor on a pallet filled with corn shucks, while his parents worked long hours. …

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