Georgia Magazine - December 2009 - (Page 23)

Stone-ground goodness Water still powers 1876 Nora Mill Granary BY JACKIE KENNEDY • PHOTOS COURTESY OF NORA MILL GRANARY O n the banks of the Chattahoochee River near Helen, a 134-year-old gristmill continues to grind corn daily, often employing the centuriesold method of water power used decades before electricity made its way to the North Georgia mountains. Located on Georgia Highway 1775, Nora Mill Granary greets visitors driving into Helen, offering on weekends the unique opportunity to see an old-time gristmill in action. The four-story mill features a 100foot wooden raceway that channels water to a turbine that turns the original French Burr millstones (48-inch horizontal stones weighing 1,500 pounds apiece) to stonegrind corn and wheat. These are used to make grits, cornmeal, flour and more sold to visitors who marvel at the products made on-site. “We grind corn daily using either the original stones water-powered by the river or our electric stone-grinding system [with 24-inch vertical stones],” says co-owner Joann Tarpley. “Sometimes we have both mills going. Either way, our products are all-natural and stone-ground.” The mill was built in 1876 by John Martin, who came to North Georgia seeking gold. “He built the house across the road for the family to live in, and he built the mill to grind grain to feed all of them,” Tarpley explains. In 1902, Lamartine G. Hardman, Georgia’s governor from 1927 to 1931, bought the mill and named it Nora Mill in memory of his sister. The mill remained in the Hardman family until 1998 when Nacoochee Village purchased it and 300 surrounding acres. In the early 1980s, Tarpley’s father, Ron Fain, leased the mill and became the miller. Joe Vandegriff, son of Nora Mill Granary owner First working with his par- Joann Tarpley, hopes to someday head the family’s ents, George and Florence gristmill business in Helen. McPherson, and then with his wife, Rita, and their children, Fain eration. Fain’s grandson, Joe turned Nora Mill into a family venture Vandegriff, 21, who also works at the that now extends into the fourth gen- mill, recently announced his desire to run the family mill someday. “Seeing him take it over will be poetic,” says Tarpley, his mother. “My father and grandfather would be so happy.” Today, Tarpley owns the busi- More than a store, Nora Mill Granary invites visitors to experience yesteryear in a shop with creaking wood floors, antique bins and hundreds of food and kitchen items. Inset: Along with “Georgia Ice Cream” (grits) and other items unique to Nora Mill, the biscuit mix produced here bakes up delicious biscuits. 23 December 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - December 2009

Georgia Magazine - December 2009
Picture This?
Georgia News
A Victorian Christmas
It’s a holiday tradition!
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Georgia Gardens
Georgia Cooks

Georgia Magazine - December 2009