A green, gorgeous piece of land in West Knoxville is a little secret 50 years in the making. What isn't a secret is the large impact of one local woman.


A green, gorgeous piece of land in West Knoxville is a little secret 50 years in the making. What isn't a secret is the large impact of one local woman.

Her nickname is Teenie, but Christine Hayworth is anything but.

She is a force and horses are a way of life.

"I started riding when I was nine because my father gave me a pony and then he died. So, I suspect that I probably never separated totally from him because I'm still doing horses 50 years later, 60 years later," says Teenie.

Teenie grew up in Pennsylvania and learned from one of the best in the business, Hope Scott.

"She was an international and national judge. She was a wonderful horsewoman.

Teenie eventually met her husband, a Knoxville native and moved here to East Tennessee.

"I was not very happy when we first came here because I had left all my family and all my friends," says Teenie. "I was a little bit forlorn and so Reese said 'Well, let's just go and look around'."

They stumbled upon a beautiful piece of land on a rural Knox County road, Nubbin Ridge.

"A lady was walking up in the fields with a raft of little mutt dogs," says Teenie. "She had a floppy hat on and she came up and got a little closer and she looked at Reese and said 'Well, if I didn't know better I'd say that's little Reese Patterson.' And it was."

That connection turned into a transaction. Years later, Teenie and Reese bought the farm they named Penrose Farm.

"Penrose is my middle name and my grandmother's maiden name and that's why we called it Penrose," says Teenie. "The barn was here, but none of the stalls were here. I started teaching lessons and boarding horses and then it grew like topsy from there."

The farm was a playground for Teenie's kids. It was used for fox hunting and for training young riders

"My nature is not to compete myself. My nature is to make a horse and child and have a wonderful experience," says Teenie.

Now the rural piece of land is smack dab in the middle of town and the farm has been going strong for 50 years. Maryville College leases it for its equestrian program.

But Teenie is still in charge. In fact, she recently made a big decision about the land.

"I started thinking at my age what's going to happen to this land?"

So, Teenie made a decision to protect the land for years to come through a land conservancy.

"It couldn't be built on ever. It couldn't have roads on it, couldn't have a subdivision on it. I would have felt that all my 50 years of hard work would have gone to naught if there had been a subdivision here," says Teenie.

Teenie Hayworth, a spitfire whose fire burns for Penrose Farm, 50 years and going strong.

"This is a family. This farm is family," says Teenie.

One of your stories. There's no place like this one.

Teenie has also served on the boards of Maryville College, Ijams and the McClung Museum just to name a few.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wbir.com/1eE61JX