In 1943 my grandparents, Jack and Minnie Whaley, bought a 200-acre farm from J.C. Rollins. Situated on this property was about an acre of marshland produced by an underground spring. The marshland was so wet, only wild vegetation, animals and snakes inhabited it.
In 1962 my parents, Wanda and Clifton Farmer, purchased 14 acres of this farm. When my dad wasn't on a ship serving in the Merchant Marines, he was in Cohutta, clearing the marsh by hand. He dug with a slash axe and shovel to drain the water that ran all the way to the McCoy and Mill Creeks.
Local folklore says that the area was used by Cherokee Indians as a water source. Believing in its healing power, Indians bathed their babies in the water before relocating during the 1838 Trail of Tears. It was this relocation that caused much of the marshland to become overgrown. Many Indian artifacts like arrowheads, grinding stones, and tools, were found by my father. These items were donated to Red Clay State Park, located just one mile from the pool.
After a year of manually clearing the land, my father hired a dozer and dragline operator to assist in digging out the area to begin his planned vision of a swimming pool. By 1965, the spring was cleared out enough to reveal a beautiful area of water, fed by an underground spring.
The area was cleared enough for family and friends to come and cool off after a long day in the hay fields. Area kids enjoyed cooling their hot bare feet or sitting in a swing that was always nearby. It was a reward just to relax and appreciate the fruits of hard labor.
About 1973, my dad built a game room that contained several coin-operated machines, such as a jukebox with 45 RPM records, pinball, foosball, and air hockey. A dear friend of my dad's, "Red" Lawson, of Lawson Amusement in Cleveland, Tenn., sold us a nice big pool table, which is still operating at the business today.
The area farm hands could always be found playing games until it was time for their daily chores of milking, hay hauling, and raising chickens. Sometimes at night, we would go play a few games of Pac-Man or foosball to see who could be the top player of the day.
By the time the game room with indoor bathrooms was built, the admission for swimming was $1 per person and kids under 12 were free. The business, Farmer's Lake, Inc., was established about 1978. Farmer's Lake, or the "cement pond," as it was often called, gained popularity in Cohutta and the surrounding area. Local kids sometimes wanted to swim but had no money. My parents gave them chores on the farm or at the pool so that no one would ever be turned away for inability to pay. This allowed my father to help younger generations establish a healthy work ethic.
In 1982, my dad passed away. With my mom in charge, we labored as a family to get the work done, and the pool continued to operate as normal. However, it soon became necessary to have improvements made. My mom became exhausted from the pool’s demands, as my brother and I eventually had families of our own.
When our children were old enough, they became certified lifeguards. But like all young folks, new adventures took over, and they left to pursue their own passions. In 2010, facing a personal obligation to carry out my father’s vision, I became the new owner and changed the name to Red Clay Resort.
Over the years, Red Clay Resort has maintained its family-friendly atmosphere. Anyone can delight in spending the day with loved ones, grilling burgers, relaxing under the shade, or seeing who can make the biggest splash off the high dive. Today, Red Clay Resort is highly regarded as one of the best values for summertime fun and swimming enjoyment. Our facility is well-maintained and frequently updated with new equipment and recreation features. We look forward to seeing you and your friends at our pool this summer.
Who’s ready to jump in?