Situated on a lush, sprawling 3,5oo acre site about 75 miles outside of Nashville, Loretta Lynn’s town (yes, she owns the whole town!) of Hurricane Mills has it all.
There’s a slew of restaurants, a campground, horse trails, an outdoor concert arena, a flea market (which, sadly, was closed) and even a fully-operational US post office. Wow! If I’d known about that, I would have mailed my postcards from there just for the postmark!
But we weren’t here for stamps, camping (in that heat? Yikes!) or even the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum, which is a very cool place stuffed with memorabilia from the Oscar-winning movie.
The main reason for our stop in Hurricane Mills was to tour the haunted plantation home where Loretta and her late-husband “Doolittle” Mooney lived with their children for 30-plus years and to step inside the scale replica of the home where Ms. Lynn was born and raised in Butcher Holler, Kentucky (below).
The tour begins, where Loretta’s story did, in the replica of her ramshackle childhood home. As you can imagine, it was blazing hot in there but everything inside was so cool that you hardly noticed.
Huge fans of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” we were stunned by how accurately the home was depicted in the movie, right down to the enormous radio in the corner (that ran on batteries!) and the walls papered with the torn pages of a 1940’s Sears & Roebuck catalog. It was like stepping back in time…seriously, you could almost smell the moonshine wafting in from outside.
But perhaps the most amazing thing of all is that Loretta’s parents raised eight children in this place. Amazing! Our tour guide (a bra-less Alabama gal with an accent as thick as the heat that day) then lead us out the back door and into a replica of an actual coal mine.
Though pictures were not allowed inside, I think I can best sum up the experience by saying that that place was straight-up creepy. Very interesting, and surprisingly cool temperature-wise, but the mannequins (dressed like coal-smudged miners) were more than a little frightening.
Squinting as we emerged from the depths of the coal mine, we hopped on the super cool tour bus (shown above, could that logo be any cooler?!) and headed back across the river to the plantation home. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the main house (or the replica home, coal mine, etc.) but the place was pretty darn cool.
Very 1970’s, lots of orange and brown in the kitchen and the downstairs bathroom was all done in lime green right down to the sink and toilet! Whoa.
Another highlight was the main entry hall which is covered floor to ceiling with framed copies of Loretta’s album covers. It was pretty impressive, but not nearly as cool (or weird, depending on your taste) as Loretta’s collection of 1970’s-era Avon perfume bottles in her pink-on-pink downstairs bedroom. So ugly and kitschy they were kind of cool.
Then, finally, the tour guide told us about the ghosts! Apparently, the house is haunted not only by the spirits of the infamous Anderson clan (current residents of the graveyard pictured below) who built the plantation, but also by the ghosts of their slaves as well, many of whom were starved and beaten to death in the “slave pit” in the front yard (not on the tour, by the way).
But the ghost that Loretta and her family encountered most often was that of a forlorn, weeping young woman who lost her beau in the Civil War. Spooky!
Much to Courtney’s disappointment, we didn’t see or hear anything remotely ghostly, but wow, what a tour. The house was really cool and if you looked out the back window from the kitchen you could catch a glimpse of Loretta’s tour bus parked out front of the more modern house she lives in today.
The tour guide said Loretta was home, but we didn’t smell fresh-baked cornbread (Loretta’s favorite), so you never know.
Anyway, after loading up on goodies at the gift store (they weren’t all opened, but there were a whopping five gift shops!) and corndogs and country lemonade at Loretta’s Snack Shop, we hopped back on the Music Highway with Memphis on our minds…
6 responses to “Loretta Lynn’s Ranch”
How cool is that to see the very home she sang about in her classic song, “This Haunted House” (and the countless other songs that mention her home or home life). That’s a must-see in my book.
I know! She also has a few really moving songs about the house on her recent Grammy-winning album with Jack White, “Van Lear Rose”. They also shot the cover for that album on the front lawn there too. So cool!
You mean “Van Lear Rose,” as opposed to the dozens of other albums she has recorded Jack White? Thanks for clarifying that, friend. I was confused, much in the same way I get confused about whether “The Empire Strikes Back” before or after the original Star Wars!
You mean “Van Lear Rose,” as opposed to the dozens of other albums she recorded with Jack White? Thanks for clarifying that, friend. I was confused, much in the same way I get confused about whether “The Empire Strikes Back” came before or after the original Star Wars!
Like Lorettas daddy, my daddy was a coal miner too. My daddy, Cecil P. was born June 22,1911 in Sweet Springs, Mo.June 11,1911.Daddys parents moved back to Burdine Holler Kentucky. It was there, he and my mother were married only after a very short period of dating. daddy was 22 and mommy was 15. Mommy had 13 babies.Yes,13 from the same man,my daddy. Daddy,often spoke of his younger days roaming around in the coal fields of Kentucky. daddy said he was paid 10 cents per ton of coal. That was,coal he dug,loaded in a coal car and cleaned his area up. Daddy often spoke of walking to work for several miles,carrying a lard bucket absolutely empty as a fake to let other workers think he had something to eat. Daddy said the other miners would share their food. Daddy often bragged about being so strong from digging coal. I was told so many stories it would take several hours to tell them all.Then,I’m sure I’d leave some out.He and my mother and other brothers and sisters at that time lived in what he called mining camps. They had to spend daddys money he mad $1.00 per day in scrip at the company store.Me being the 13 th child was fortuniate to gathered more information from daddy concerning his younger days. He said during the great depression days they liked to starve to death. No food, money, or any means to do anything whatsoever to better themselves. He never gave up.Daddy was not a quiter. He and my mother and oldest sister and brother packed what they could and began walking from starvation.They walked and hitchhiked from the coalfields of Kentucky to West Virginia. That was probably at least 300 miles.I suppose, Daddy thought it might be better there for them. While In West Virginia Daddy worked for other mines .A little better,not much. I suppose Mommy and daddy just had a drawing to Kentucky. Daddy loved digging.He finally decided he didn’t want his 8 boys digging that black gold and breathing that miners duct that would soon cause their lives. Daddy developed blacklung from digging. He always had medical problems it. I know excatly what Loretta went thru as a your woman in the holler. I would love to meet Loretta someday and talk about the old days. maybe ,who knows.
Wow, Greg…that is some kinda comment! 🙂
Seriously, though…sounds like you have some really cool stories to tell. Make sure you write them down somewhere so your kids and future generations can know what you Dad and Mom struggled though back in the day.
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