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Flipping a Farm: Inspiration at Estes Farms

A local family creates the next century for their family farm, inspired by childhood memories.

By Susan Atteberry Smith

Dec 2023

Estes home
Photo by Leah StiefermannA Missouri Center Farm renovated into Cassidy Station at Estes Farms stirs memories for visitors and creates experiences for a new generation to enjoy.

After school was out for the summer when he was a boy, Kyle Estes couldn’t wait to visit his grandparents at their farm between Ozark and Nixa. 

Country life was familiar to him, growing up on his own family’s farm in Mt. Vernon, yet those summer days with Gene and Doris Estes were special. Kyle looked forward to helping with chores like taking care of the cattle and dogs raised on the acreage, first home- steaded by the Estes family in 1872. “We worked stock dogs, border collie dogs were what [my grandfather] had, and did that together all the time,” he says. 

Now, a year after celebrating the farm’s 150th anniversary, the 39-year-old Ozark commercial real estate developer and his wife, Hollie Estes, 38, a local insurance agent, have restored five original buildings and opened about 20 acres of the Missouri Century Farm so visitors can make their own treasured memories there.

Kyle Estes calls Cassidy Station at Estes Farms (5176 N. Fremont Road, Nixa, 417-522-3659his “passion project.” With a name harking back to the early Christian County town along the old Chadwick Flyer railway line, the farm opened in December 2022 with the Cassidy Mercantile Store, once his grandparents’ house.

Horses in a field at Estes Farms
Cassidy Station, Estes Farms
Photos by Leah Stiefermann Featuring a mercantile, flower shop, event venue and a working farm, visitors can enjoy the new life of this local Century Farm.

“Everything we’ve done has been for that goal, to preserve it,” he says as he shows a visitor around the 100-year-old home. “We took this house down to the studs to make sure it was going to be here another 150 years.”

By this February, a full-service flower shop was operating in the back of the house in what used to be Estes’ grandfather’s workshop—and the workshop of his father before him.

And by early October, Kyle and Hollie had hosted their first fall market festi- val, their first farm to table dinner and their first Airbnb guests. An event venue was open in the old barn, a new bride and groom venue was finished, an am- phitheater was under construction and the black and white Belted Galloway cattle were grazing in the fields along with the grass- and grain-fed Angus Herefords that Kyle raises for the beef sold at the farm.

“My generation and generations before, lots of people grew up going to their grandparents’ farm, and that was so many good memories for lots of people,” Estes says. “As time goes on, that’s further and further removed be- cause nobody’s grandparents have farms anymore.

“So this is a way for people to experience that and get those same kind of memories.”

Inside the newly restored buildings, visitors find family heirlooms and arti- facts. A 19th-century rifle his family once brought from Kentucky hangs above a store doorway, historic photos of Estes’ ancestors hang on tin walls salvaged from the barn and railroad tracks repurposed as drying racks and chandelier beams trim ceilings.

“We’ve got a bunch of antiques that have been stuck around here for years, and I’ve just pulled them out to make them come back to life,” he says.

Estes says they were fortunate that his family kept so much over the years.

“Everything from the sales counters to our dis- play tables, we’ve built out of either the old doors from the house or workshop tables,” he says. “Even the shelves on the wall were built out of reclaimed wood from the farm. We used hayloft floor for a lot of the accent walls.

“We’ve used some of the original siding from the house.”

Yet even with such attention to detail, the store opened only nine months after construction began in April 2022.

“We’ve been lucky. We’ve had lots of good crews to work with,” Estes says, adding that he depended on a good friend to help him find con- tractors.

His parents, Gary and Karen Estes, and other family members who live close by often stop to see how everything is coming along.

“I think everybody’s been kind of excited,” says Estes. “Everybody just likes to come see the project, cheer us on.”

And best of all, it’s just what Estes envisioned only a few years ago.

“I sat out here in my farm truck, feeding cows, and dreamed this up,” he says.