|Prater's Mill - A Legacy of American Tradition.
millers, customers and mules, on the front porch of the
mill, at the turn of the 20th century.
1999: Three millers, Prater's Mill Gang volunteers with mule, on the front porch of the mill, at the turn of the 21st century.
After almost 150 years of serving communities in northwest Georgia, Prater's Mill has been named an American cultural legacy by the United States Library of Congress.
Built in the mid 1800’s, the water-powered grist mill is now the
centerpiece of a country fair that showcases the cultural history
of Southern Appalachia. The fall Prater’s Mill Country Fair will
be held Columbus Day weekend.
The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., developed the Local Legacies Project to document the cultural richness of American communities
at the turn of the 21st century. Historical photographs, papers,
oral histories and musical recordings that tell the story of Prater’s Mill will be placed in the nation’s library as well as in the University
of Georgia Library in Athens.
The Prater’s Mill Country Fair focuses on mountain music, Southern
foods, living history exhibits and the handmade crafts and original
art of 185 talented artists and artisans. Craft demonstrations include
blacksmithing, spinning, quilting, rug hooking, woodcarving and hand
tufting, a cottage industry that evolved into the tufted carpet industry
centered in Dalton, Ga.
At the fair, visitors take self-guided tours of the operating gristmill,
the country store, Shugart Cotton Gin and the Westbrook Barn complete
with farm animals. Across the road from the mill in the 1898 Prater’s
store the Dawnville Community Club serves authentic Southern meals
of pinto beans, turnip greens and dried apple stack cake. Elsewhere
throughout the festival are other specialties such as pit-cooked
barbecue, apple cider, fried apple pies and churned ice cream.
During the fair, families enjoy canoeing on the Coahulla Creek,
a walk down the nature trail and pony rides for children. Educational
exhibits include an authentic Civil War encampment, working antique
engines and “Peacock Alley”, a clothesline display of hand-tufted
Continuous entertainment on stage features Appalachian-style clogging
teams, country bands and gospel singers. Wandering musicians, jugglers,
dulcimer players and storytellers perform throughout the festival
The Prater’s Mill Country Fair is sponsored by the Prater’s Mill
Foundation, a non-profit organization of volunteers dedicated to
historic preservation and education. Thirty-nine civic clubs, churches
and schools also participate in the community event. The hours are
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Saturday and 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on
Sunday. Admission is $5.00, children 12 and under are free. Visitors
are urged to dress casually and wear comfortable shoes. Parking is
Prater’s Mill is located on Ga. Hwy 2, ten miles northeast of Dalton
and about 30 miles south of Chattanooga, TN. Interstate travelers
should take I-75 to the Tunnel Hill-Varnell Exit #341; drive north
4.5 miles to the intersection with GA. Hwy. 2 at Varnell; turn rightand continue 2.6 miles to the mill, a total distance of 7 miles fromI-75. Call 706-694-MILL (6455).