I believe this historic mill structure was relocated here; the only Watkins Mill I can find in Georgia historical records was located in Butts County. I’m unsure if this is that mill or another, more local operation.
Tag Archives: South Georgia Mills
Having grown up swimming and exploring House Creek, I always wondered about the history of Bowen’s Mill. A few days ago, I got a message from Mike Hudson that a new bridge over House Creek was about to be constructed and he expressed concern that these ruins would likely be swept up in the debris of the construction project. Mike Carlok of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Office of Environmental Services notes: these ruins will not be swept up from GDOT construction. Our Office of Environmental Services (OES) has taken extraordinary steps to make sure that this history will not be erased by our projects. This site has been recommended Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places…and it deserves that recommendation…and I myself will be there to monitor construction…
A large grist mill was constructed here by R. V. Bowen, Sr., in 1836 and was in operation here into the 20th century. A water-powered sawmill was also part of the operation. This was one of the first industrial sites in this section of the state.
A wooden dam, which contained a 100-acre lake, failed at some point in the 1940s and swept away most of the mill.
I haven’t been able to locate any information on Clark’s Mill, but it’s obviously an important landmark in Jefferson County.
Like most old mills today, it’s located on private property and is not accessible to the public. There’s also what appears to have been a modern restaurant located on the property.
Davis Mill was built on Jones Creek in northern Worth County in 1879. The foundation of the gristmill remains today, as does the millpond (now known as Jordan Company Lake). The mill itself is extant, as well. It was relocated to the Georgia Museum of Agriculture in Tifton.
I came here with Hoyt Dorminey, who shared memories of visiting his uncle and aunt, J. W. & Mattie Lindsey, in the 1950s. They operated the mill, which was then owned by S. O. Spooner. It stopped producing about 1963.
This sign beckoned me to turn in, but besides turning around and snapping a few shots, I was unable to explore this local landmark as it’s private property.
The structure pictured above and the cabin below are all I saw, but there appear to be others on the surrounding property.
The mill pond is a tranquil landscape and a longtime favorite of fishermen.
Scarlet Wild Basil (Clinopodium coccineum) , a species widespread in the nearby Ohoopee Dunes, is present here, as well. I’ve seen more of these interesting native plants in Emanuel County than anywhere else in Georgia.
Now the centerpiece of George L. Smith State Park, the renovated structure seen here was built by James M. Parrish, who along with Alexander Hendricks purchased the surrounding 200 acres from J. J. Moring in 1880 and set about building a dam and grist mill on Fifteen Mile Creek. The structure also served as a covered bridge.
The pond, filled with cypress trees, is one of the most picturesque places in this section of Georgia and attracts fishermen, kayakers and nature lovers from all over. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but well worth a visit.
Though the lake is man-made, it’s a pristine natural area attracting lots of birds and other wildlife.
A relatively short walking trail follows the pond and affords views like these from one of several docks and overlooks.
Take advantage of a peaceful hour or two and stop by when you’re in the area.
One of the most knowledgeable guides to the park is Wesley Hendley, who loves being on the water and has a real passion for the history of the area.