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Name: City (Flour) Mills (view items)
Industry type: Food Processing
Industry: Mill
Country: United States
State/County/Province: Georgia
City: Columbus
Start year: 1826
End year: 0
Company: City Mills

"Description of The City Mills Complex From National Register Application 1971:

" City Mills was built in 1826, two years before Columbus became "a town." The original section (now one of three units) was 101'3" in length. The second floor is supported by 40 12x12' columns. The ceiling height on the ground floor is 11'3", the ceiling being of wooden construction."

Statement of Significance from National Register Application 1971
" City Mills, which is the oldest industry in Columbus, was built by Seaborn Jones on a plot of land granted to him by the State of Georgia. It is located on the Chattahoochee River between what is now 17th and 19th Streets. The original grant from the State with its wax seal and map of the plot is still owned by the company.

Seaborn Jones built a grist mill to grind corn and wheat for Columbus settlers and the Indians. A wooden dam was built across the rapids to provide power. Following Mr. Jones' death, several people owned the mill. During the War-Between-The-States it produced its maximum capacity of meal for the Confederates, but was burned Easter Sunday, 1865, by Wilson's Raiders of Sherman's Army.

In 1866 the Mill was rebuilt and the wooden dam, part of which still remains and can be seen today during low-water, was used until 1908, when a modern stone dam was built. From 1866-1890 the Mill operated under several ownerships. One was N.J. Emery, and one of his employees, George A. Pearce of Alabama, eventually married his daughter and then operated the Mill.

On a day in 1890 Mr. Pearce and his associates incorporated the business under the name of "City Mills". Mr. Pearce was president and Thomas Salisbury was secretary-treasurer. The purpose of the mill at this time was to manufacture water-ground meal and flour. Slightly preceding the coming of the cotton mills, City Mills also has the distinction of being the oldest commercial water-ground meal in the country.

The business prospered under Mr. Pearce's ownership, and a new brick floor, grist mill and elevator were built. In 1908 B.H. Hardaway Construction Company built a stone dam for the Mill. By 1928 a modern feed mill had been built with a complete line of horse, cattle, and poultry feeds manufactured to sell along with the famous water-ground corn meal. After Mr. Pearce's death in 1931, John P. Illges was elected president and Robert I. Zacharias secretary-treasurer. J. E. Johnson was made assistant secretary and treasurer.

The business continued to prosper, and in 1950 C.R. Mehaffey became president and his son vice-president. Eelbeck Mills of Jacksonville, FL bought the mill in 1951, and in 1966 Mr. Mehaffey disposed of his interest to Lloyd G. Bowers, III, who was elected president. C.R. Mehaffey, Jr. continued as vice-president and treasurer." --historic columbus association