Rich in history.
Venue or private residence.
Nestled in the lush valley at the base of Lookout Mountain is a 92-acre historical tract of land known to locals as Happy Valley Farms. The Walker County location – situated 10 minutes from downtown Chattanooga – is a treasure box property. From the road, passersby see rolling pastures, a handsome horse barn on the hill, and a hardwood canopy. It’s just a taste of what rests beyond the wrought-iron front gate and down the winding drive. From there, Happy Valley Farms reveals its abundance, including a 1930s Colonial Revival mansion, lake, a swimming pool and pool house, a smokehouse, and two cottages all encased in miles of blackboard fencing.
Turn-of-the-century industrialist and philanthropist John L. Hutcheson Jr. built Happy Valley Farms in 1935. Originally home to his award-winning Jersey cattle and dairy, Hutcheson transitioned the property to focus on horses when his youngest daughter, Marion “Bit” Hutcheson, showed interest in riding. From then on, Hutcheson’s farm was home to world-class breeders and trainers of American Saddlebred horses – including Bit, who won multiple World’s Champion of Champions Amateur titles throughout her career. The farm stayed in the Hutcheson family until Bit passed away in 2019. But the Hutcheson legacy lives on in the property.
In mid-2020, businessman and land conservationist Greg Vital visited the property and was inspired by its breathtaking beauty and historical significance. Vital, co-founder and president of Morning Pointe Senior Living who has a passion for land preservation, saw an opportunity to preserve the iconic landmark property and realized this 300-acre farm could not be duplicated. “I didn’t buy this to keep it,” says Vital. “I bought this property as a steward to preserve the core agricultural elements of this significant legacy estate and property that is an integral part of North Georgia.”
Today, through sizable investments made by Vital and business partner, Alan Cameron, Happy Valley Farms bears a striking resemblance to its former self, while providing an opportunity for a new owner that completes Bit’s vision and maintains the farm’s esteemed history.
The new, sprawling barn contains 27 stalls, each equipped with an individual automatic water system. The barn also includes an indoor washing area, tack rooms, and an office, and is perfect for equestrian enthusiasts.
Bit’s beloved horse barn has been renovated into a first-class equestrian facility, which comes after a devastating fire in June 2013. The new, sprawling barn – once home to some of the finest Saddlebred horses in the country, including Bit’s prized Merchant Prince – contains 27 stalls, each equipped with an individual automatic water system. The barn also includes an indoor washing area, tack rooms, and an office, and is perfect for equestrian enthusiasts, as it also contains ample space for trailers and equipment. Surrounding this masterpiece is a riding arena and tree-lined trails.
The Hutcheson family history is also an important part of the updated facility. Hundreds of prize ribbons and vintage photographs line the entryway and office walls, paying tribute to the cattle, horses, trainers, and family members that made Happy Valley Farms an invaluable part of the surrounding community. The land will always be associated with the grand days of show horses and prize cattle, and the fine memories of that era, which are now preserved in the equestrian facility as well as the main estate.
Past the barn and down the meadow- and lake-lined drive is the elegant main residence: an 8,000-square-foot Colonial Revival mansion and surrounding structures ready for personalization and restoration, all hidden from the main road. A beautiful vintage greenhouse – with an attached prep room and sink – sits on the lawn below the house, a bit of old Southern charm that recalls the home’s place in history. The mansion rests atop a slight hill, with a stunning view of the bucolic property from the front porch.
Behind the large front door of the estate is a grand foyer with an elegant, winding stairwell. The house still has its original silk wallpaper, custom moldings, and high arched doorways. There are hardwood floors on every level, including the spacious attic. The residence contains eight bedrooms, eight-and-a-half baths, formal living and dining rooms, a play area for children, a library, a den, and a large unfinished basement with optimal storage space.
On the lower level, a sunny kitchen and laundry room are attached via a breezeway to a secondary detached prep kitchen with a walk-in cooler and freezer – an attractive feature for managing a large event. The estate’s architectural finishes and detailed craftsmanship – including its steel I-beam and crossbeam framing, as well as its original slate roof – provide good bones for potential renovation.
The original garden plans – designed by the first licensed landscape architect in the state of Georgia – are also available for prospective buyers interested in restoring the property to its original grandeur. The beauty of the formal English garden still stands behind the house, including a stone patio perfect for events and outdoor celebrations. A caretaker cottage, fit for customization, is visible from the backyard as well, and just steps away from the main estate.
Down a stone pathway adjacent to the house sits another grand feature: an Olympic-sized concrete pool and accompanying pool house. The stately pool, with depths of up to 12 feet, is another reminder of the property’s elegant history. The area is dotted with original boxwood plants, visible through the pool house’s wide windows that overlook most of the surrounding property. Inside, the pool house features a large stone fireplace, a central entertaining space, a kitchenette, and two bathrooms with showers and changing areas – perfect for hosting guests or special events.
The wooded hills that embrace the property contain another of its hidden gems. A stunning 3,000-square-foot cabin sits above the main grounds, hidden by forestry and accessed by a winding, paved drive as well as an inlaid stone staircase leading from the pool house.
From its perch, this two-story cabin – originally built in the 1830s as a part of Mountain Cove, and relocated by Mr. Hutcheson – overlooks the surrounding pasture and estate.
Though part of the included acreage, the cabin has its own distinct feel. As a secondary residence, it offers a home-away-from-home quality, despite its proximity to the main grounds. Visitors enjoy the serenity and seclusion the cabin provides, as well as its access to the area’s natural wildlife and fauna – from deer and wild turkeys, to white oaks and red cedars.
Happy Valley Farms is a one-of-a-kind historical and pastoral location, ideal for customization. It has great potential as an equestrian estate, with its state-of-the-art barn, optimal stable space, arena area, riding trails, and plentiful pastures. It can also work as a first-class venue or bed and breakfast, its lush scenery perfect for photoshoots and lasting memories. Or, it could function as a private residence or country getaway, with plenty of space for enjoying family, and experiencing all the surrounding area has to offer.
This beloved, iconic property has proximity to downtown Chattanooga and is only two hours from Atlanta, Knoxville, Nashville, and Huntsville, making it an ideal spot for anyone seeking a remote locale with access to modern amenities. The bones of the sprawling estate and equestrian center immortalize the Hutcheson family legacy, but offer ample opportunity for Happy Valley Farms’ next chapter.
Offered at $5,500,000. Additional acreage available. This property is ideal for a conservation easement. Private appointments are now available for qualified prospects. Contact Amy Collett, Southern Land Lady at Keller Williams Greater Downtown Realty: 423-269-0784 (mobile), 423-664-1900 (office), firstname.lastname@example.org.
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