Tonight while riding at Tribble Mill Park, I found the remnants of the old mill wheel. I had been within about 20 feet of it before and never noticed it, but a fellow last week told me where to look. I looked tonight and sure enough, there it was. I’m going to go back with the camera tomorrow and take some pictures which I’ll post here.
It was a strange thing standing there on the stone wall next to the collapsed steel(?) wheel. I was struck with a sense of profound sadness; which was odd since I didn’t know anything about the history of the mill. I have been getting this feeling a lot lately as I look around at all of the construction work going on in this area. Old houses are being torn down or moved in droves in order to build yet another Walgreens or a new strip mall. Houses that have been there for decades or longer; each with histories and lives, happiness and sorrow. Enormous trees that were there before the houses. I’m all for progress and such, but there’s some point where you just feel like saying “Do we really need another drug store?” I don’t know where that point is, but lately I keep sensing that we’ve passed it.
The sadness I felt was in knowing that this mill wheel was once part of a thriving mill. Yet here it was collapsed and broken in the woods. The wall that once diverted the water from the river lay in pieces. I didn’t know any of its history, but all that was left were ruins. I did a quick Google and found this story about the nearby town of Dacula. In it I found this
In the 1920s, he [Newton Giles Pharr] bought Tribble Mill, a water-powered mill where farmers had their corn ground with a mill rock imported from Germany. Situated near the rapids of the Alcovy River toward Walton County, the mill also offered a cool summer outing — people would travel out from town and wade, swim and picnic near the water.
which confirmed some of my thoughts. I don’t know when the mill was destroyed or how. The wheel is now broken and rusted, but it looks like it was once around 12 – 15 feet in diameter. I can imagine it tirelessly turning the shaft which turned the cogs which ultimately turned the meal-grinding stone, hour after hour. I can just imagine folks in their bathing costumes sitting on the sheets of granite by the river having a lunch of chicken and fresh fruit, with the mill behind them grinding out corn meal. I could almost feel the spirits of those who used to frolic there. It was a very sad moment; I don’t know that I can explain it any better than that.