Hiwassee Community • Madisonville, TN

About us:
We are very happy to be able to start a community here on the campus of the former Hiwassee College, which was operated in association with the Methodist Church. We look forward to refurbishing and making use of the college buildings as more families become a part of the community, and hope eventually to have a small elementary school and workshop as part of our community operations.

Madisonville is a city of about five thousand near the Unicoi Mountains, which are part of the famed Blue Ridge mountains. This region was originally settled by Cherokee and the name “Hiwassee” is derived from the Cherokee word “Ayuhwasi” meaning “large meadow”. The Hiwassee campus includes a library, community center, chapel, gym, and stables in addition to residential houses.

Connecting with neighbors:
John Burleson, one of the first Bruderhof residents on the campus along with his wife, Karen, says, “Our move and transition to life here in eastern Tennessee has been an exciting adventure, albeit challenging at times. Moving into this old campus that is clearly steeped in history and fond memories for so many people gives us appreciation and motivation to reclaim, repair, and repurpose the buildings and grounds. It’s kind of like polishing a neglected gem or diamond into something beautiful again. The original school was founded on the principles of educating young people in an idyllic rural setting with wholesome Christian values. Our vision going forward is in many ways similar. We hope that Hiwassee Bruderhof will be a campus where the love of Jesus is felt and nurtured in the care for all who live here but also connecting and partnering with so many others around us who share the hope and belief of the Gospel.”

Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to meet and learn more about our plans for the Hiwassee Community.

Meet some of the people who live at the Hiwassee Bruderhof:


Mim: Hi, my name is Mim. My husband, Brendan, and I and our four children, ages three to fourteen, live in East Tennessee at one of our newest Bruderhof communities. Hiwassee is a 175-year-old college campus. Our family moved here to help with repair and renovations. My husband is an electrician, and since the college is old and has been unoccupied for two years, there is no lack of work! I am a nurse, and have been working in our community clinics for about twenty years. Here in Hiwassee, even though I still slap a Band-Aid on now and then, I mostly spend my days helping to clean up the old buildings and caring for the community’s smallest children. Every day is different and always full of adventure!  

The campus has beautiful rolling lawns dotted with old elms, willow oaks and southern magnolias. The view to the east looks toward the majestic Unicoi Mountains, close neighbors to the Great Smoky Mountains. Most mornings we wake to a spectacular sunrise over the mountains, and end the day watching the reflection of the setting sun on them. I can’t get enough of it!

Our favorite part of living here is building up a place where people can live together in peace and love as followers of Jesus. We are enjoying meeting and befriending our new neighbors. Many live just adjacent to our property, and we meet them strolling through the campus, or stop to chat in their backyards. We are amazed by the hospitality and feel very welcome.  

We hope as our buildings get renovated, God will lead many more to join us in service to Christ here in East Tennessee! In my opinion, we live in one of the best parts of our country, so y’all should come see for yourselves!


Martin: Hello, my name is Martin. My wife, Kymberly, and I moved to Hiwassee in early 2021. We are pretty much empty-nesters, so the time was ripe to do something completely new. It has been an exciting roller coaster ride! We moved from Maple Ridge, a much larger, established community up in New York, to a brand new, small community in Tennessee. A lot of things are different, practically speaking – except the spirit of communal living is the same. We take care of making sure nobody starves or is out of snack material. One of the most exciting things about living here is the fact that nobody in the area knew about the Bruderhof before we got here. So we are starting from scratch with neighbor relations. When people come visit they like to join us in singing fun or nature songs, and of course activities like making S’mores or playing cornhole are always popular. The other day we invited folks for a BBQ and softball game on the perfectly laid-out field here. One of the guests pitched the entire game. So you are all invited, especially anyone living near here in the South. We have a lot to learn from you!

Contact Information

225 Hiwassee Community Dr
PO Box 367

Madisonville, TN 37354
United States

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