Scenic USA - Georgia

Praterís Mill

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Praterís Mill  - Varnell, Georgia

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

   Found in a decrepit state in 1970, a series of old fashion country fairs were enough to kick-start a Praterís Mill restoration project. Judy Alderman and Barry Miller, aided by their families, held their first fundraiser fair on a Motherís Day weekend in 1971. Encouraged by a large turnout, a group of volunteers cleaned out the millís overgrowth, patched holes in the floor and braced a sagging roof. Once the rust-locked turbine was freed, the millstones began turn once again.
   The Coahulla Creek, not only provides the millís source of power, but occasionally presents big problems. Years of hard work were spoiled when the Coahulla overflowed its banks and flooded the mill. Despite the record setting flood in March, 1973, the persistent Praterís Mill gang of volunteers never gave up and went about cleanup, accepting the river's good and bad characteristics .
   Decades of water damage took its toll on the millís main support beam. Praterís Mill  - Varnell, Georgia Finding a replacement for the 28 foot, 12 by 12 heart pine beam seemed next to impossible. Finally two oak timbers were notched together and wrestled into place by a muscular group of volunteers.
   Surviving floods and arson fire, the matador red mill is one of Dalton's historic treasures. All of the achievements were honored with placement on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Praterís Mill Foundation was also presented with a Georgia Trust Award for Outstanding Historic Preservation in 1991.

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