Started in 1971 by volunteers known as “the gang,” this group endeavored to restore the dilapidated 1855 grist mill and surrounding buildings. With this goal in mind, the Prater’s Mill Foundation was formed with the mission to protect, preserve and present the heritage of the Prater’s Mill Site for future generations.

Historic Prater’s Mill is now owned by Whitfield County but operated and maintained by the Prater’s Mill Foundation. As a non-profit volunteer group, the Foundation relies heavily on revenue from the annual Country Fair, grounds reservations, memberships, and donations. We invite you to join Become a Member and support the ongoing preservation of this treasured site.

Donations to the Foundation are used for projects such as the Veteran’s History Project with the Library of Congress, preservation of historic buildings on site, support of the Foundation’s Southern Appalachian Folklife Collection and Center, the Prater’s Mill Historical Marker Project, and Hands-0n-History for school age children. Prater’s Mill is more than just a mill. In return for your efforts, you can meet new friends, have fun, and sustain the history of this historic district.

You can help by donating your time and/or money. We need volunteers to help maintain the grounds, special events, and assist with the annual country fair. Let us know your ideas! 706-694-MILL or info@pratersmill.org.

BEFORE (1971):

In 1971 Prater’s Mill was in serious disrepair. To raise funds to preserve the mill, volunteers staged the first Prater’s Mill Country Fair on Mother’s Day weekend in May of 1971.

AFTER (2011):

Forty-five years later, the Prater’s Mill Country Fair continues and serves as the centerpiece of the Prater’s Mill Heritage Park, now owned by the people of Whitfield County

Prater’s Mill is also a member of the Society for the Preservation of Old Mills (SPOOM), an international organization chartered in Maine in 1972 dedicated by its constitution to promote interest in old mills and other Americana now quickly passing from the present scene. The Society reports to its members through a quarterly magazine, keeps files and maintains a library on mills, and acts as a clearing house on milling information. A wealth of information and links to mills internationally can be found at the Society web site, SPOOM.org.

Prater’s Mill offers a fascinating peek into the rural heritage of Northwest Georgia.

During the country fair, several products are available for purchase.

Since its beginnings around 1855, Prater’s Mill has been a gathering place for local farmers and their families. Arriving at the mill in mule-led wagons, the men folks would bring their corn to be ground into cornmeal; the women folks would shop at the store and visit with their neighbors to get up-to-date news in the area. The children would play games with their friends or swim in the creek, maybe even catch some fish for supper.

Visitors can still see the original set of French Buhr millstones in action when the miller opens the gates to flood the forebay. The Leffel turbine wickits are then opened, and the power of the water starts the mill stone spinning. The corn is then added into the hopper, and the “Damsel” starts her chatter.   The corn is slowly dropped onto the millstones to be ground into meal.

The grinding surface of the “runner” stone is concave and carved in a spoke-like pattern. The bed stone is also carved. As the runner stone rotates, the grain first gets cracked in the middle of the two stones, then it is pushed to the outer side by the spoke-like pattern where the finer grinding is done.

Making It Happen