A historical building is a treasure in any community because often they are left in disrepair and deteriorate through the years. This historical house is known as the Parmerlee House built from bricks made on the property in 1837. The brick house was probably the only one at the time in the whole county. Its stately design made it unique and quite the conversation piece. Mr. James Clark Parmerlee owned a huge hide tanning business on his property across the road from his residence, buying hides from the stock yards in Chicago, St. Louis and Louisville to be processed at his tannery. Brown County was the perfect place for James and his sons to start the tannery because of its vast forest that contained Chestnut Oak. The bark from those trees were needed to tan hides. In the 1850s and '60s, up to and during the Civil War, the brick house became a hiding place for southern slaves trying to escape to the free north by way of The Underground Railroad. Validation of this happened when the current owners discovered several false walls and hiding places on the second story of the house.
And now THE STORY OF THE FARMHOUSE CAFE & TEA ROOM
The present owners purchased the old house and surrounding acreage where the nursery is today. The brick house had not been lived in for many, many years. The renovation gave new life to the old brick structure. The walls of the farmhouse are three bricks thick beginning in the basement and continuing through to the full second story.
Through the years families have called the Parmerlee House home and have stories of weddings and Christmases and family dinners and celebrations in the big room with the fireplace.
The vision for the property, as unique as it is, out of the way and a bit of a drive off the main highway, became a business, offering a new dimension to those who live here and the visitors that come each year. In addition to the beautiful nursery of plants and herbs the owners decided to create a cafe/tea room in 2007. This was a perfect complement to the Herb Barn and quickly outgrew from a sandwich cafe into a full-service restaurant operating year round, serving delightful and delicious lunches and dinners. While diners are enjoying the ambience of the historical building and dining on everything homemade, you know by their license plates that they traveled a distance to get here.