Tucked away along a winding byway in Catawba County, North Carolina, is a National Register Historic Site known as Murray’s Mill.
On a recent trip to the western part of North Carolina, I spent a few moments snapping pictures of the historic property, which in addition to the Mill (built in 1913 to replace the original), consists of Murray & Minges General Store (circa 1890s), a Wheathouse from the 1880s, and the John Murray House (built in 1912). Three generations of Murray family members ran the mill from 1883 until 1967, when operation ceased.
Murray’s Mill has been carefully restored and preserved by the Catawba County Historical Association since 1980. — Catawba, North Carolina
Visitors can tour the Mill and Wheathouse—the last of their kind in the county—or step into the General Store for a quaint step back in time.
Parking is available by the Murray & Minges General Store, where an old pump and a rusty Pepsi cooler greet visitors. (The name Minges was added through marriage.)
Behind the mill is the John Murray House (left) and (to the right in the distance) other historic structures that are part of the Murray’s Mill Historic Site in Catawba, North Carolina.
Inside Murray’s Mill, artifacts have been well-maintained for viewing, such as millstones used to grind corn, roller mills for grinding wheat into flour, as well as storage bins used to contain the finished product.
The dam and 28-foot waterwheel at Murray’s Mill were constructed in 1938 and replaced the former wooden dam and 22-foot waterwheel.
Although not part of the Murray’s Mill Historic Site per se, trail enthusiasts and casual walkers alike can pick up the David L. Stewart Trail, which is part of a regional network of greenways and trails known as the Carolina Thread Trail that “threads” its way through 15 counties in North Carolina and South Carolina.
For more photos of Murray’s Mill, both past and present, visit NC State University Library’s rare and unique digital collections.