Called “the homeplace of bluegrass music,” the Bill Monroe Homeplace was the childhood home of country music legend Bill Monroe, known throughout the world as the “Father of Bluegrass Music.” Bill was five-going-on-six years old when the Homeplace was built in 1917. Born in another house nearby, it was the Homeplace he had in mind when he wrote his classic song “I’m On My Way Back to the Old Home.” It’s believed that the Homeplace was built to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Bill Monroe’s parents, James Buchanan and Malissa Vandiver Monroe, married in 1892. It appears that another structure once occupied the site and, after it was torn down, the Homeplace was built around its very old, back-to-back sandstone fireplaces.
The Bill Monroe Homeplace, high atop Pigeon Ridge, was the centerpiece of a nearly 800-acre farm, including 40 acres on the adjoining Jerusalem Ridge, an area the Monroes reserved for hunting. The Monroe family, with six sons and two daughters, worked hard, without the benefit of machinery, to make their farm successful. They planted crops of tobacco and corn, raised cattle, hogs, and chickens, mined coal, and cut timber to make railroad ties and telephone poles.
Fun times included visits to the Homeplace by Malissa Monroe’s brother, the renowned fiddler James Pendleton Vandiver, known as “Uncle Pen,” also memorialized in song by Bill. Whenever Pen was playing for a dance nearby, he would eat supper with the Monroes, then fiddle for the children, sitting by one of the fireplaces. Listening carefully and later playing at dances with him, nephew Bill would credit his Uncle Pen with instilling an all-important ability to keep time when playing music.
The Bill Monroe Homeplace was restored in 2001. Inside are cherished family belongings, early 20th century-vintage furnishings, and rare photographs of Bill Monroe and two brothers who also played music professionally, Birch Monroe and Charlie Monroe.
Travelers from around the world regularly visit the Homeplace to learn about Bill Monroe’s early life and family. Just down the road, in Rosine cemetery, Bill, his mother and father, and all of his brothers and sisters rest in peace together. Just outside Rosine, a new cabin stands on the spot where Uncle Pen and a teenage Bill once lived together after Bill’s father died in 1928.
Bill Monroe was a star of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years and recorded for Decca/MCA for over 40 years. He remains the only person to be inducted into three Halls of Fame: Bluegrass, Country,and Rock and Roll. He was presented with the National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton in 1995.
The Bill Monroe Homeplace is one and a half miles west of Rosine, Kentucky on Highway 62 East. Make your pilgrimage to the Homeplace and take a guided tour into the life of the Monroe family.
6210 U.S. Highway 62 East
Beaver Dam, KY 42320.
Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1 – 4 p.m.
Winter Hours: Closed during February
For more information:
+1 (270) 298-0036
+1 (270) 274-3551