Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project

 

 
Old Mill Wheel (Mountain Campus)

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Institution Name: Berry College
Original/Historic Place Name: The Mill
Location on Campus: on Mountain Campus off NW end of roadway that encircles the campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1930original construction
1977wheel rebuilt
1985restoration of the mechanism
Designer: unknown
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Regionalist/Vernacular (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education, history, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Materials:
Foundation: stone
Walls: stone
Roof: cedar shingles
 
Function:
1930-present (2006)other (used as a mill to grind corn grown on Berry campus; currently used occasionally to mill and is part of Historic Berry)
 

Narrative:
Constructed in 1930 to provide a means of harnessing the energy from the schools' water resources to grind corn grown on campus into meal for bread, thus enabling the school to become even more self-sufficient. The Old Mill's iron hub was originally in use at Hermitage, an early manufacturing community approximately 15 miles from Berry. The wooden overshot waterwheel, which is 42 feet in diameter, was constructed by student workers. Henry Ford, benefactor of the school, saw the importance of the water wheel to the schools' self-sufficiency and supported it accordingly. The mill was one of his favorite places to visit on campus, and he played an active role in funding the reservoir and pipeline system that supplies water to the mill.

During 1977 the wheel was completely rebuilt as a cooperative project involving Berry students, staff, alumni, and friends; and in 1985 physical-plant staff and student volunteers restored the mechanism and made the grinding of corn meal possible once again. The Old Mill is well-maintained and used an average of six times a year to grind corn into meal, at which time it is opened to the public. The mill is designated a Georgia Historic site and remains one of the most-photographed places on campus.
 

References:

Berry Trails: An Historic and Contemporary Guide to Berry College. Third edition. Mt. Berry, GA: Berry College, 2001.

Martha Berry Papers. Berry College Archives, Mount Berry, GA.

Thomas, Kenneth H., Jr. The Berry Schools [Berry College]. National Register of Historic Places designation report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service, 1978.

 

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Last update: November 2006