Not-for-profit buys Harlan Hubbard’s homestead and plans for restoration

The Ohio River home of Harlan Hubbard, the Kentucky author, artist, and naturalist has been purchased by a not-for-profit organization that is working to stabilize and restore the historic property.

Payne Hollow on the Ohio, Inc. is a nonprofit whose mission is to preserve the structures and land at Payne Hollow and to protect and promote the legacy of Harlan and Anna Hubbard.

Harlan Hubbard, who died in 1988, is considered by some to be a modern-day Thoreau. He is widely beloved for his writing and art, and he and his wife, Anna, captivated the public imagination when, after years of living on a shantyboat, they settled down in Payne’s Hollow -- later shortened by Harlan to “Payne Hollow” -- along the banks of the Ohio in Trimble County. There they built a homestead where they lived for 35 years and spent their days living sustainably -- foraging, fishing, gardening, chopping wood, as well as writing, artmaking, and playing music.

READ MORE: Behringer-Crawford plans permanent exhibit of pastoral artist Harlan Hubbard’s work

Payne Hollow on the Ohio, Inc. is raising money to support its preservation and restoration work there. The organization says it has reached its phase one fundraising goal, finalized the purchase of the property, and is beginning a second phase to support its work:
  • To catalog and digitize the historically significant artifacts and archives.
  • Stabilize, reconstruct, and restore the architecturally significant structures and land features.
  • Nominate Payne Hollow to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Conduct flora and fauna studies and explore future designations as a nature preserve.
Bob Canida was a friend of the Hubbards and an advisor and major donor to Payne Hollow on the Ohio. “Anna and Harlan Hubbard were reclusive in some ways, but they were also so humble, inviting, inclusive, and admired by everyone who came in contact with them,” he says. “Part of their mission was to showcase a simpler way to live, and most visitors left with a new sense of understanding and a desire to change the direction of their lives in some way.”

Board Member Jessica Whitehead says, “I think it is the common goal of all of us at Payne Hollow to educate and inspire the community through the instructive example of Harlan and Anna Hubbard’s life at Payne Hollow -- to understand how culture and ecology can find a place in their lives.”

Donations can be made through the organization’s website.
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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.