The Origin of Split Tree Farm
Text of a framed plaque written and presented by Steve Rose
at Atlanta's Argentine Tango Weekend, September 1997
This land was previously part of the Cedar Hill Farm, which was owned by Sid's family since 1870. Sid purchased this piece from his aunt in 1977 and made it his residence. The main house was built in 1978.
Being familiar with the surrounding area, Sid knew about the Hidden Hollow Resort nearby, which had a dance hall. Sid was an avid contradancer, and had the idea of holding a contradance at Hidden Hollow. He enlisted the cooperation of the contradance community in Atlanta and on March 31st, 1990, the dance was held. It was an all-night contradance with musicians, callers and dancers coming mostly from Atlanta, Birmingham and Knoxville. The party began on Saturday evening with a potluck dinner, continued with dancing all night long, and ended with a dawn waltz on Sunday, April Fool's Day. This was the original Fool's Fest. Sid invited people to his house afterwards to eat, socialize, play music, or do whatever. There was no hot tub then. Musicians gathered to play on the back porch, where the stage is now.
Sid loved to dance and play, so he attended festivals all over the country. He even wrote a doctoral thesis on festivals. For years Sid dreamed of sponsoring festivals with this property as the setting. However, he wasn't yet sufficiently encouraged or monied to pursue his dream, so the annual Fool's Fest afterparty was the only event. Two storms changed that.
In August 1992, the old tree in his back pasture was struck by lightning, splitting it into pieces. In March 1993, a blizzard struck the entire east coast. Dozens of trees on Sid's property were blown over. These storms finally provided the sign, the name, and the lumber that Sid needed to start changing his dream into reality. Sid hired a local man with a portable mill to cut the fallen trees into boards. Then, with help from his friends and supporters, the dance hall was built.
In the following years, with continuing support from the community, more festivals were held, the hall was improved, the floor was installed, and the log cabin was built. The remaining history lies in the future.
Note: Steve Rose's text is surrounded by Leslie Hodges's extraordinary art deco-style pastel framing of farm scenes, the split tree, horses, dancing couples, musicians, the water pond garden Steve has created, and other related images. Copies will be available. We are trying to post the work on this page as it frames Steve's text. Steve Rose was one of the original Fool's Fest committee members who helped create the first dawn dance with the financial and musical backing of Atlanta's Chattahoochee Country Dancers, who were led at the time by Susan Davis. Currently Steve leads and teaches at the Atlanta Argentine Tango Society.