Home -- About--History --News and Schedule of Events-- Historical and Scenic Photos -- Workshop Photos-- Links of Interest


June 2008

In June of 2007, the 1914 water wheel was replaced with donations from the community and interested persons. The new steel wheel was installed by nine Francis Mill Preservation Society volunteers (three of which were volunteers from 2004) and workers from the Waterwheel Factory of Franklin, NC.

Grants totaling $14,480 from the Steele Reese Foundation, Mast General Store, the Janirve Foundation, and the Haywood Community Foundation enabled the Francis Mill Preservation Society to hire G. Dean Cooke Builders to install the new wooden flume. Then ten volunteers from FMPS including Bill and Londo Franklin, volunteers from Raven Road Builders and Plemmon's Plumbing spent several weeks refurbishing the mill dam, and connecting the wooden flume to the pond with an underground pipe. In kind donations including labor totaled over $19400!

The new Francis Grist Mill water wheel turned on September 22, 2007 at the second annual, “Music at the Mill” to the tunes of Balsam Range and the Frog Level Philharmonic!

Funds from the Steel-Reese Foundation allowed the FMPS to hire millwright, John Lovett, who spent the second week of April 2008 at the Francis Mill. He was able to fabricate new millstone bearings, repair the corn and wheat damsels, sharpen corn stones, replace bearings in millstone support and install a water wheel gating system. He and Tim also leveled and trammed bedstone, installed the runner stone, adjusted/repositioned drive shafts and bearings under mill, and, put on drive belt to the corn stones, and ran the runner stone.

Mr. Lovett returned to the Francis Mill a week later to fabricate new shoe for wheat stones, rebuild and re-screen sifter, make cleats for hopper stand and hoop, sharpen wheat stones; attach corn shoe; attach sifter; build belting framework; re-band wheat stones; set wheat bedstone, bearings, and gasket; install wheat stone shaft, bridgetree, step bearing, tentering screw; line wheat stone hoop with metal; re-position water wheel, move pinion shaft; mount jackshaft and bearings; mount wheat belt tensioner pulley; put on all belts; grind corn, troubleshoot system; and repair and reinforce sifter.

Mr. Lovett, Tim and Jimmy High ground 150 pounds of white corn on the white granite corn stones. Several problems kept them from testing out the French Burr wheat stone.

In June 2008, Tim and Jerry Donahoe built a new spillway gate and installed a floor on the lower level. Jimmy High is working on remaking the bridgetree tension pulley. Tim and Jerry also ground 100 pounds of white corn!

In summary, more than 77 volunteers at the Francis Mill have provided more than 4,450 hours of labor. Additional volunteers provided everything from food to cranes. In kind donations are valued at more than $54,000. The mill had been transformed from a building on the brink of decay to a sturdy building with a brand new wheel ready for the internal machinery to be geared up to turn the stones which will grind grain for neighbors and visitors!

The next step for FMPS will develop educational plans for children and open the doors of the mill so visitors can step back in time… 121 years!



Cold Mountain Tour
July 6, 2008

Music at the Mill
Tentative September 13, 2008

Old Fashion Day
With Bethel Elementary


Get your corn ground at the Francis Mill!

Call for details!

Funds are still needed to develop appropriate educational plans for each grade level. Please send your renewal your membership at your earliest convenience.

Please help save trees and mailing cost by sending us your email address with your membership renewal so you can receive newsletters by email.

Levels of Membership:

Students $10,
Friend of the Francis Mill-$100,
“Carpenter” - $500,
“Miller” - $1,000

********************************* Mail your membership and information to:

Francis Mill Preservation Society
14 Hugh Massie Road
Waynesville, NC 28786
Name ______________________________________________________
Level of membership___________
Email address _____________________________________________
Home address ____________________________________________