ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Hamburg Mill & Park, Georgia
ExploreSouthernHistory.com - Hamburg Mill & Park, Georgia
Hamburg State Outdoor Recreation Area
The historic mill was built in 1921 and is still
operational. It is used to grind corn into meal during
special events at the park.
Historic Mill at Hamburg
The water-powered mill uses
the flow of the Little Ogeechee
River as a source of power. It
still operates.
Rural Industry
The mill seen today at the
park is the second one at the
"Little Shoals." The original
dated back to 1825.
Hamburg State Outdoor Recreation Area - Mitchell, Georgia
Historic Mill at the "Little Shoals"
Copyright 2012 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.

Last Update: July 24, 2012
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Georgia State Parks
Hamburg Lake
The lake, which covers 225
acres, is really a millpond that
was created when the Little
Ogeechee was dammed to
power the mill.
Historic Mill and Dam
Paved walking paths lead
down to the Little Ogeechee
where it flows out of the mill
and dam.
High Above the Little Shoals
The towering height of the
historic mill is evident in this
photo. It was built in 1921-
1922 by the Gilmore Brothers.
Hamburg State Outdoor Recreation Area is a
Georgia State Park located near the Town of
Mitchell between
Augusta and Milledgeville.

Located at the historic "Little Shoals" of the
Little Ogeechee River, the part is home to a
water-powered grist mill dating from 1921
and is well-known for its outdoor recreation

The "Little Shoals" were a well-known place
for crossing the swift-flowing Little Ogeechee
long before the first pioneer industry was
established here in 1825. Located about four
miles from the "Big Shoals" of the Ogeechee
River, they were a landmark for Native
Americans going back thousands of years
and some believe the Spanish expedition led
by Hernando de Soto crossed the Little
Ogeechee here.

After the region was ceded to the whites by
the Creek Indians, the land was opened for
settlement. The Warthen family acquired the
land where the park is located today during
the 1790s. Members of the family had served
in the Patriot army during the American
Revolution and obtained land grants in
Georgia for their service.

Other settlers came as well and the frontier
trading post of Georgetown, located six miles
downstream from the "Little Shoals," became
a prosperous settlement. In 1825 members
of the Warthen family dammed the shoals
and built the first water-powered mill at the

This mill stood about 75 feet upstream from
today's structure and is now covered by the
waters of the millpond, which is called
Hamburg Lake.

Grist mills often did double duty as saw mills
and were important industries during the
early days of the United States. Farm families
needed a place to have their corn ground into
meal or to have raw timber sawed into
boards for use in building projects. They
often also served as gathering places, poll
locations on election day, post offices and
militia practice grounds.

The Warthen Mill was a center for any of
these activities over the years. The proximity
of nearby Georgetown also provided a
market for the corn meal produced there.

The safety of the mill and surrounding farms
was threatened during the War Between the
States (also called the Civil War) when Union
General William Tecumseh Sherman made
his infamous March to the Sea during the fall
of 1864. One column of Sherman's army
struck the nearby towns of Milledgeville,
Sandersville and Louisville, but the Federals
bypassed the area immediately surrounding
the mill.

The survival of the mill meant a lot to local
residents and they continued to grind their
corn there until the end of the 19th century.
The Warthen family eventually sold its
interests in the gristmill and it passed
through the hands of several others over the

The old mill had seen its better days by the
early 20th century and the Gilmore Brothers,
who by then had purchased the site, made
plans to demolish it in favor of a new mill,
dam and cotton gin.
Construction of the new mill, which can be
seen at Hamburg State Outdoor Recreation
Area today, began in 1921 and was finished
the following year. The much higher dam
produced a stronger flow of water. That, in
turn, meant more power and capability for the

The mill and adjacent cotton gin served the
area from 1921 through the dark days of the
Great Depression. It produced not only meal
but also flour, which was gaining popularity
in the rural South.

Like the earlier mill, the new Hamburg Mill
passed through the hands of several owners
over the years. In 1968, however, it was
deeded to the State of Georgia and is now a
treasured part of the state park system.

The historic mill can be seen today at
Hamburg State Outdoor Recreation Area
(once known as Hamburg State Park). It still
operates and can be toured during special
events at the park. The exterior can be viewed
any time.

As its name implies, the park is a great place
for outdoor recreation. The millpond created
by the Hamburg Mill dam is called Hamburg
Lake and covers 225 acres within the park. It
offers fishing for largemouth bass, crappie
and bream. A boat ramp is available and
private boats with up to a 10 hp motor are

The park's campground is open from March
15 until November 30 and features electric
hookups, etc.

The park itself is open daily year round from
7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and offers picnicking, hiking
and beautiful scenery. It is at 6071 Hamburg
State Park Road in Mitchell, Georgia.

Please click here for more information.