A Charmer Once and Again!

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This farm, established in the early 1900’s, is located in Fayetteville, Tennessee, was originally owned and operated by Mr. Frank Rambo. Known then as Oakwood Acres, it was designed by Mr. Morton Wyatt. Mr. Wyatt, who also managed Oakwood Acres for Mr. Rambo, visited several surrounding farms, including the Milky Way Farm, before coming up with a plan. Ultimately, it was patterned after buildings on Haynes’ Haven Farm (est. 1920’s) in Spring Hill, Tennessee, which is currently owned by Saturn. It was home to several grand champion walking horses, Strolling Jim, Melody Maid, and City Girl, so the farm was abuzz with activity. This magnificent, 45,000 square foot, stone structure which includes several former barns and stables, now sits in the midst of approximately 750 acres.

Under the watchful eyes of the construction managers, Johnny Armstrong and Lafayette Kimes, the architectural drawings began to take shape. Grover Cathey, a black man, and his son, laid the stone work that accentuates the buildings.

The walls and flooring were white walnut, also known as butternut. It was quite elaborate for its day and time, and a spectacle to behold even today. Even back then, it had a sophisticated, automated, fountain for the horses to drink from.

Upon completion of the original construction, a celebration barbecue was held, and attended by several dignitaries, including the governor.

An interesting story…there once was a round barn on the premises that burned. Afterwards, a fifteen acre lake was built primarily for water availability in the event of another fire, so they wouldn’t run out of water.

Ronnie Wallace, a local contractor, now deceased, bought the property in the early 1990’s, named it Wallace Riverbend Farm, and with his imagination and resources, an amazing transformation took shape.  Restoration and renovations included a 250 – seat auditorium in the main barn where cattle auctions were held, and a covered bridge was built on the property, as well as many other unique touches. Rock fences replaced the wooden ones. The large, 14,000 square foot, main structure was marvelously renovated to form what is now the current River Bend Event Center which includes the original theater and space for elegant dining and dancing. The Center also includes a spacious 3 bedroom apartment known as the Lions Liar, after the imposing statue of a lion in front of the Center. Tradition is when the groom oils (cooking oil provided) the lion before the ceremony it guarantees a long and happy marriage. The former stables and grounds provide a splendid backdrop for a variety of out door activities.

It was most recently purchased by Stephanie and Gary Sams and now promoted as Riverbend Event Center, catering to many weddings, large and small business and corporations for seminars, or other events.

Plans are underway to house several condos in the dairy barn, and most of the land is being sold as lots for residential development.