Kennesaw Farms, once the home to a legendary thoroughbred horse farm, is full of rich history that dates back to the 1800s. The original home still stands today and was renovated in 2005 to become the centerpiece of Kennesaw Farms. Now home to Kennesaw Development and Southeastern Building, its grace and beauty has drawn people from all over to hold weddings and social gatherings within its doors. With its new start a new name was given to the home, The Baber House, after its namesake Washington Baber who built the home in 1856.
Legend has it that A.C. Franklin won the Kennesaw farm from Washington Baber on a New Orleans-bound Mississippi River gambling boat. That night, A.C. won the Kennesaw mansion and the 292 acres surrounding it. Union troops occupied the farm during much of the Civil War, but the Kennesaw farm was still able to provide much needed agricultural products to the residents of Gallatin. After the war, Kennesaw thrived as a leading thoroughbred farm. Horses bred at Kennesaw went on to win two Kentucky Derby titles and one Belmont Stakes. Today, on exhibit in the carriage house of Belle Meade Plantation, there are three blankets which proudly display the names of horses who were raised at Kennesaw.
A.C. Franklin filled the Kennesaw mansion with beautiful antiques, and the home prospered throughout his life here. During his lifetime, he acquired somewhere close to 1,400 acres; upon his death, 950 acres were left to three of his sons. James Franklin received the Kennesaw house, along with 303 acres, to continue the horse business that he and his father had started in 1868. James continued to carry out the Franklin horse racing tradition even after prohibition laws were passed that outlawed gambling in Tennessee.
The home and acreage remained in the Franklin family until 1913 when it was purchased by Isaac McMahan of Sevier County, Tennessee. It remained in the McMahan family until 2004 when it was sold for the last time as a large parcel of land to become Kennesaw Farms.
When Kennesaw's developers purchased the home and the 300 acres surrounding it, they envisioned creating a place that would carry Kennesaw's rich tradition in history and equestrian theme throughout. Now, Kennesaw is poised to take its next step in history as a lifestyle destination.