Constructed in 1930, the Old Mill boasts an iron hub which had originally
been of service at Hermitage, an early manufacturing community near the Shannon
village between Rome and Calhoun, Georgia, and was a gift to Berry from The
Republic Mining (bauxite) and Manufacturing Company. Henry Ford had the hub
moved to Berry where the wheel was rebuilt.
The wooden overshot waterwheel, considered one of the largest in the
world at 42 feet in diameter, was constructed by student workers. For many
years, the mill was operated by Mr. Green Berry Goodson, a white-bearded miller
who ground Berry-grown corn into meal and grits. Water is piped directly from
Berry's reservoir lake to the wheel. Once primed, the force of gravity is
strong enough to push the water up the stone column, and over the wheel, causing
it to turn.
During 1977 the wheel was completely rebuilt as a cooperative project
involving Berry students, staff, alumni, and friends, and was dedicated to the
memory of Mr. Gordon Keown on June 3, 1978. Mr. Keown was an alumnus of Berry,
a long-time staff member and acting director of the Berry Schools from
During 1985, physical plant staff and student volunteers restored the
mechanism and made grinding of corn meal once again possible. The Old Mill is
operated on special occasions such as Mountain Day. When
available, the Oak Hill Gift Shop sells cornmeal ground at the Old Mill.