Historic Markers Across Georgia

Prater’s Mill

Marker ID:  
Location: Prater Mill Road NE (Georgia Route 2), Varnell, GA
County: Whitfield
Coordinates: N 34° 53.697    W 084° 55.2
  34.89495    -84.92
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: None


Prater’s Mill

Prater’s Mill is a restored working gristmill built by Benjamin Franklin Prater circa 1855, on land that the Cherokee called “Fish Trap Shoals”. The mill is constructed of hand-hewn timbers with mortised and pegged joints. The Prater family owned and farmed the land surrounding the mill and produced cotton, wheat, and corn. Although there were no battles on the land, Prater’s Mill became a campsite for both Northern and Southern soldiers during the Civil War.

In 1879, Whitfield County had at least thirty-two gristmills. By the turn of the century, Prater’s Mill was one of the larger mill complexes. In included a cotton gin, saw mill, syrup mill, general store, a blacksmith shop, five houses, and a community of 40 people who lived here. Farmers from the surrounding area would come to Prater’s Mill for the numerous services provided at this location.

The mill remained in the Prater family until the 1950s. The buildings changed hands twice, and after falling into disrepair, the Prater’s Mill Foundation started to manage the site in 1971. The Foundation began an extensive restoration of the original gristmill. The mill and other buildings are open to the public annually during the Prater’s Mill County Fair.

Erected by Prater’s Mill Foundation.