Legend has it that Texas Valley originally was settled by an ancient wagon train bound for Texas. When sickness moved in, this valley became their home. From these settlers came the Cooper family. Herman D. Cooper opened a real estate company where he and his son John Cooper worked together buying and selling farm land.
When Herman passed away, John continued on running his fathers company. When John was 29, he married the lovely Rena Berry Hammon, cousin of Martha Berry, of Berry College. They then chose to begin their life together in Texas Valley on old Cooper soil.
The blizzard of 1993 transformed the private estate grounds into a war zone . The pines that John and his father had planted together from 1943-53 had fallen and shattered into piles. Those pine logs were cut into boards and the construction of a dream barn began.
The 20,000 square foot boarding stable, with a 20,000 square foot hay loft, took 4 years to complete, with the Hay loft eventually becoming a ballroom for events. Every nail was hand driven, and every piece and detail was carefully considered. The Coopers opened the gates to Zion Farms Equestrienne Center in 1996 and operated until 2008.
At the time, we were not really sure what possessed us to take on such a huge responsibility, other than the fact that it was such a beautiful and peaceful place. We knew that it would be a wonderful place for our children to grow up and a great place to spend quality time with our family and friends.
When we took over the farm, we realized we had a lot of work to do. So we spent a year doing some much needed repairs and renovations and cleaning the land up. Lee owns a construction company as well as a tree company, both which came in very handy.
In July of 2010, we had our first wedding in the stables as a favor for some friends, and from that point on, the word was out that Zion Farms was back in business, and the calls started coming.
At first, we were sure we were not ready to open the farm to the public. It was nice having it all to ourselves, not to mention, we were so busy with our existing business that the thought of having one more was a bit daunting. Lee owns and operates Prestige Builders, a successful construction company that specializes in every thing from commercial construction, to custom homes and renovations, and he owns Maloneys Tree Service, that specializes in tree removal and storm clean up.
Dixie Bagley is a Certified Personal Trainer in Rome, in addition to helping Lee run his companies, and being a mom to their 3 children. Needless to say, life is busy. After giving it some thought, we decided to open the farm to the public. Keeping it family-owned and operated meant we could keep our prices reasonable, and ensured that we could still enjoy it as well. We chose to rename it THE FARM and give it a shot. Our first wedding was in January of 2011 and our first horse moved in as well.
Lee and Dixie are looking forward to all the new adventures that life with the Farm will bring to their family and sharing it with the public.