Updated June 4, 2012
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July 2014

Recent rains washed out the footbridge at the mill which necessitated the construction of a whole new bridge. A workday ensued with volunteers helping with the construction. Most of the prep work was done by Tim Timbes prior to this day. Below are some photos documenting the building of the new bridge.

A before photo of the washed out bridge. The damage made the whole bridge unsafe, so it was dismantled to make way for a safer, sturdier bridge.

Mike McDonald carrying lumber for the new bridge.

John and Dale Jackson and Tim Timbes.

Rodger McEntyre, Mike McDonald and J.C. Lance taking a short break.

Finished bridge...hand rails will complete the new bridge.

The final construction of the new bridge complete with hand rails.

June 2014

We are excited to report that the Francis Grist Mill has been entered in THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES!!
Many thanks to those who have helped with all aspects of the mill's restoration and Bethel Rural Community Organization for their help!

The 9th annual Music at The Mill will be held September 13, 2014. Watch this page for updates.

May 2012

The Cars and Cornmeal event in May was a new event at the mill that seemed to draw the crowds. About 20 cars of all types were displayed. BBQ and fried pies were also popular. The mill was turned on and corn was ground, so all in all it was an active and popular event, and will probably be repeated next year.

September 2011

Music At The Mill for 2011 was a rousing success. We had one of the biggest crowds ever (in fact we ran out of BBQ...but that problem will be addressed next year). The mill itself was turned on, and ran like a charm. Thanks to all who attended, and to all the volunteers.
See you next year.

November 2010

It has been six years since the restoration of the 123 year old Francis Grist Mill began! Not only that, the mill is once again playing a role in community life.
Thanks to the Bethel Rural Organization, teachers, Amanda Allen and Amanda Watson from Haywood County Schools came to spend a day at the mill to write detailed lesson plans for their appropriate grade levels.

School Visits

In the last year, the Francis Grist Mill has welcomed several school groups. Four classes of Fourth Graders from Bethel Elementary School visited the mill in May 2010 for demonstrations of grinding corn, history and water conservancy. The Y.E. S. (Youth for Environmental Stewardship) Camp returned to the Francis Grist Mill in June for a second year of milling and water erosion lessons.

Music at the Mill

In September the Francis Mill Preservation Society hosted the Fifth Annual Music at the Mill to raise awareness of historic preservation and raise funds to continue the preservation of the Francis Grist Mill. FMPS volunteers ground corn to the tunes of the Frog Level Philharmonic and The Hill Country Band. Both bands have volunteered their time and talents for the last four years! The event also included crafters and delicious BBQ by Craig.


Grant Application

Evelyn Coltman of the Bethel Rural Organization has written a grant to the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area group asking for matching funds to pay an individual to write the form needed for the Francis Grist Mill to be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. FMPS and Bethel Rural Organization sent letters of support with the grant application from Congressman Heath Shuler, Representative Ray Rapp, SPOOM President Harold Rapp and many others.
If the Francis Mill Preservation Society receives funding from BRNHA, we will need to raise $1,400 in matching funds. We received the first one hundred dollars last week from MAST General Store. It is urgent that we raise the funds soon. Please send in your end of year donation as soon as possible so we will have our matching dollars in place.
More Ways to Help
The Francis Mill Preservation Society has a nice selection of unique mill related items that would be great Christmas gifts. There are framed and unframed prints of “The Francis Mill” by Ann Vasilic. Note cards of “The Francis Mill” by Kathy Williams and Lil Parks. There are also t shirts, and hats. Call 456 6307 for more information. Each purchase supports preservation! Profits from these sales can also be used for the matching funds.


There are many volunteer opportunities at the Francis Grist Mill. Volunteers are especially important when school groups are at the mill. Please call for more information or email tannat@charter.net

From the President

Please help honor all the volunteers who have made the preservation of the Francis Grist Mill possible by making your donation for matching funds before the end of this year. I think it is amazing that so many folks came together in order to restore the Francis Mill in such a short time. I would like to see the Francis Mill on the National Register of Historic Places in order to honor the men who built the mill and the volunteers who restored it. Thank you for your help. Tanna


School Groups

Looking for a summer vacation project? Heritage Conservation Network is the organization that helped FMPS get volunteers and grants to restore the mill. They have changed their name to Adventures in Preservation. Check out their website. Perhaps you will find a place you want to visit and take an “adventure in preservation.” Learn more at www.adventuresinpreservation.org Please help save trees and reduce 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 __________________________
Home address ___________________

I can volunteer at a Mill Event!

___ Help grind corn
___ Supervise visiting school groups
___ Lead Tours
___ Sell Tickets/ Gifts
___ Help with parking cars

June 28, 2010:

A small group from the YES (Youth for Environmental Stewardship) Camp (sponsored by the Haywood Soil and Water Group), visited the mill today to learn how important water conservation is, and how vital it was in the production of food.

The group from YES in front of the mill

April 2010:

Education Days at the mill. On the 23rd, approximately 100 4th graders from Bethel Elementary visited the mill to learn about the history and operation of the mill. This was the second of many education days at the mill. One of the main purposes for the mill's restoration was so it could be used as an educational tool, and now that has come to fruition. The children were very attentive and interested, asked many questions, and went away with an increased knowledge of their heritage, and more specifically how grain was processed before electricity.

Some of the 4th grade visitors during Education Day at the Mill

September 2010:

The 5th annual Music At The Mill will be held on the 18th, and will feature The Hill Country Band and The Frog Level Philharmonic.

June 2009:

The Francis Mill is in great shape!! Look how far we have come in 5 years!!
The building is stable, and there is more water in "Francis Mill Creek" than I have seen in years!
The mill was the site of a lovely wedding on June 5, 2009. Abby Boone and Bryan Spann chose the mill as their wedding site after volunteering here last Sept at Music at the Mill! Check out the Photo Page for pictures: CLICK HERE, and scroll to the bottom of the page.

We have two groups of students coming later this month to take a tour so we are accomplishing what we set out to do!

January 2009:

Francis Mill is the feature article in the Winter issue of The Old Mill News from SPOOM:
Click here to see the article
(this link requires an Adobe PDF reader. If you do not have one, download it free at: ADOBE READER DOWNLOAD)

This article is very well done and includes a history of the mill and a history of its restoration. It also features a color photo of the mill on the front of the publication, as well as photos of volunteers during the restoration.

July 2008:

The mill will be a featured stop on the Cold Mountain Heritage Tour sponsored by the Bethel Rural Community Organization. More about the tour and BRCO can be found by CLICKING HERE.

-Update July 12: The Cold Mountain Heritage Tour was a great success for the mill. We even made some money from souvenir and picture sales. Due to the drought, the mill had to be shut down a couple of times until the pond filled up again, but fortunately most of the visitors got to watch the mill in actual operation as corn was ground during this event. Donations were accepted from those people who wanted to take home some of the ground corn.

A DVD produced by the Bethel Rural Community Organization (who sponsored the Cold Mountain Tour), features Francis Mill in about a 10 minute segment. The DVD is called Walking In The Footsteps of Those Who Came Before Us: A Collection Of Bethel History, and is available at several businesses throughout Haywood County (Blue Ridge Books and News, Osondu Books, WNC Visitors Center) as well as mail order through the Bethel Rural Community Organization at: Order Form (CLICK HERE). For further information on what else this fascinating film includes,CLICK HERE. For anyone interested in local history, this film is highly recommended.
There is also a book available, "Legends, Tales and History of Cold Mountain: Book IV" which has the mill featured as well. It is also available at the above locations.

SPRING 2008:

We have a professional millwright that will be working on the inside of the mill assembling and meshing the gears so that the grinding machinery can be put into operation. Watch for updates.


This historic event took place during our 2nd Annual Music At The Mill. The wheel began turning approximately one hour before the event started, through the laborious efforts of several volunteers working until all hours in the days leading up to the 22nd. Our sincere thanks go out to them for making this happen so that many people could enjoy watching the wheel turn while they listened to some good music and enjoyed some BBQ.
Watch this space for a report on this special day.

JUNE 2007

On the weekend of June 22, 23 and 24, the new wheel was installed with the assistance of several volunteers and a crew from the Water Wheel Factory from Franklin, NC. See the pictures of the installation on the Workshop Photo Page CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS. A huge thanks to all the volunteers who showed up to help along with some of the wives who provided lunch. Now the goal is to finish the pond work and install the flume. A millwright has also been hired to put all the machinery inside the mill into working order, so that hopefully we can have the mill up and running before the end of the year...in time to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the mill along with the Bicentennial of Waynesville.

JULY 2007

Watch for details.