Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 16

ISTO
CK.COM / WLAD

74

True grit
Georgia's historic gristmills
keep on grinding

HELEN NEWLING LAWSON

By Helen Newling Lawson

"T

he daily grind." Long before the phrase meant a hard day at
work, the ability to turn grain into food was more than a job; it
was a means of survival.
Tommy Martin, miller at Nora Mill Granary in Helen, loves to share
the meanings behind other common sayings that have their sources in
milling, such as "keep your nose to the grindstone" and "damsel in
distress."
"The piece of metal at the center of the millstone is called the damsel,"
Martin says. "If the stone is spinning off center, which wears down its
grooves, this piece will make a certain rattle. Only millers who listen out for
their 'damsel in distress' can avoid permanent damage."
The staying power of phrases like these also says something about the
importance of milling throughout history. In the days before electricity,
water-powered mills turned raw materials like corn into grits or cornmeal
but also served as hubs of the community.
"It was the place that everybody went," says Mikey Sims, director of
the Prater's Mill Country Fair near Dalton. "Everything they grew needed
processing. As far out as was convenient, farmers would come in to have
their grain ground. While they were there, the women would shop at the

16

Georgia Magazine

June 2020

HELEN NEWLING LAWSON

MIKEY SIMS

The Prater's Mill Country Fair
began in 1971 to raise funds
to restore the 1855 gristmill
and surrounding buildings.
The fair features artists and
craftspeople who celebrate
Appalachian traditions.



Georgia Magazine - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - June 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 8
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 9
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 10
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 11
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Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 15
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 16
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 17
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 18
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 19
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 20
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 21
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 22
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 23
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 24
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 25
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 26
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 27
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 28
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 29
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 30
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 31
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 32
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 33
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - 34
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - June 2020 - Cover4
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