Saturday, January 21, 2023

How Loretta Lynn Accidentally Bought an Entire Town: ‘We Didn’t Know Until We Bought It’

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Sometimes we end up with things we don’t want or need and we might give them to friends or loved ones. Or we could stow them away for the future possibility that we can think of a use for them. But country star Loretta Lynn had no way of storing her accidental purchase after she bought a home she fell in love with and then learned she was also the proud owner of the town where it was located.

Lynn was born in Kentucky but rose to stardom in Nashville, Tennessee. And after establishing herself among the best of her time, she bought a big house, a piece of land and, as she found out, an entire town.

For those who don’t know, Lynn was born to a miner’s daughter in a hilltop cabin in Butcher Holler, Kentucky. Her parents were poor and raised eight children on their father’s income as a miner. She married and became a mother as a young teenager.

As turbulent as the relationship between Loretta Lynn and her husband Oliver was, she often gave him credit for her career. She sang for children but didn’t know she had star potential. But he saw that in her and urged her to go on stage.

Eventually, Lynn’s singing and songwriting took her to Nashville, where she quickly formed a friendship with Patsy Cline. After Cline’s tragic death in 1963 and the birth of Lynn’s twins in 1964, the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” superstar looked for a place to stay out of town with Oliver and their six children.

Lynn told David Letterman in a late show Interview how she came to own the one she lived in for more than 50 years until she died. As she recalled, she and Oliver drove past an “old southern mansion” that she liked. They didn’t even know if it was for sale.

They ultimately bought the house in 1966 after learning it belonged to a banker in Nashville, where she still lived before moving in. “We didn’t know the city was going to come with it,” Lynn told Letterman, adding that she “wasn’t interested in the city.”

Interested or not, the purchase included a general store, post office, and mill, which she turned into her museum and gift shop. Letterman asked her if she was the queen of town, and Lynn shyly replied that Oliver wouldn’t have accepted it. “He runs things since he’s there all the time,” she noted.

Lynn might not have intended to end up with Hurricane Mills in her possession. But she never left it, even after Oliver died in 1996.

The country star slowed down after suffering a stroke in 2017 and breaking a hip in 2018. After she died in 2022 at the age of 90, her family released a statement that read, “Our precious mother, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, while asleep at home on her beloved Hurricane ranch Mills” (People).

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