Scenic USA - North Carolina
Each day Scenic USA presents a new and interesting photo feature from somewhere in the United States. Chosen from a wide variety
of historic sites, city scenes, backcountry byways, points of interest and America's best parklands, this site offers the viewer hundreds
of unique vacation destinations and photographic subjects. Each feature is coupled with a brief explanation. For further detailed
information, links to other sites are provided, but are never to be considered an endorsement.
The Catawba River in North Carolina's Western Piedmont Region was home to the Catawba Tribe for centuries. Escaping turf wars in Europe, many American immigrants pushed westward into North Carolina's fertile river valleys. Unhindered by the broad river, Catawba County's first settlers, many of northern Irish, English, Scottish and German decent, settled both sides of the river valley. Displacing area Natives, these ethnic groups of farmers cultivated the rich bottomlands, measuring their wealth in farm acreage and fertile ground.
Latecomers to the Catawba River area, the Murray family operated a grist mill along Balls Creek beginning in 1883. The current two-story mill, built by John Murray in 1913, replaced his father's original mill structure. Descending down Murrays Mill Road toward the water, visitors are greeted by the mill building on the right, and the Murray and Minges General Store on the left. The general store provides a trip down memory lane with penny candies, an old fashioned soda cooler, pioneer folk toys and bead-board wall coverings. The mill appears just as it had when the Murray's closed the doors in 1967. Featuring one-ton French buhr millstones plus a Eureka roller mill, Murray's Mill is just one part of this historic site. The wheat house, miller's home and mill create a perfect atmosphere for the annual Harvest Folk Festival. During the festival in late September you're likely to hear gospel, bluegrass and country music filling the air. Along with an array of agricultural heritage exhibits, visitors may appreciate a collection of antique tractors, cars and farm machinery. While kids will enjoy the petting zoo, everyone will be able to savor some of the best food Catawba County can offer.
Run by three generations of millers until the last family members closed the doors in 1967, the Murrays were frustrated with too much bureaucratic red tape and high taxes. Today, visitors will find the Murray's Mill Historic District meticulously preserved by the Catawba County Historical Association.
Copyright © 2012 Benjamin Prepelka
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