This classic red barn in Williamston is owned by Dean Hunter, who takes a keen interest in antiques – especially of the mechanical variety. His farm boasts an assortment of old tractors and automobiles, some of which date back to the early 1900s. Hunter has a special penchant for hit-and-miss engines and is said to own the largest collection of stationary hit-and-miss engines in our state.
Many of his hit-and-miss engines came from a collector in Missouri, and several of the larger ones once powered textile mills. Hunter Farm is also home to two fully-operational steam-powered trains, one of which runs on a 7.5-inch track and the other of which runs on a two-foot track. Up to 30 people can ride on the latter train. Both tracks run over a mile, forming a loop around the farm’s pond and dam.
The train at Hunter Farm also takes passengers past a replica cotton gin and general store. Norman Durham, who met Hunter at an engine show in 2003, now volunteers at the farm. One of many who have joined in this preservation effort, he pitches in to help build structures and maintain machines. Last year, when caretakers of an Andersonville, Georgia cemetery decided to replace the headstones of Civil War graves, Hunter purchased the original markers and Durham helped him set up a mock burial ground. Today it is one of the sites visitors see as they round the rail line, which Durham says is “a good scenic ride.”
The Hunter family enjoys opening its doors to those who share similar interests. Each spring, the family hosts its annual Old Farm Days celebration here, a private event for those interested in antique engines and farm implements.
The farm has also served as a stop along the annual SC Young Farmer and Agribusiness Association Educational Tour, and A-model and classic car clubs meet here throughout the year. Hunter even operates a double-decker bus to take people on tours of his property! To learn more about visiting, please call Norman at 864-643-9196.
The first image was captured in 2006 by photographer Jerry Stafford of Seneca while he was searching for rural images to promote a fund-raising antique tractor and engine show for the Berkeley County Museum and Heritage Center in Moncks Corner. Jerry writes, “The red barn, assorted farming implements, and Model A Ford peeking from one bay of the barn presented all of the needed elements for this photo.”