Barker’s Creek Mill has been providing the local community with milling services since the mid 1800’s. Mary Hambidge built the current mill in 1944 at the site of an older mill that served the community since the first white settlers came into the area in the late 1820’s.
The mill is powered by a 12-foot overshot wheel set on babbet bearings. It was converted from a wooden spoked, steel-rimmed wheel to the current metal spokes in the 1960's. The mill has been renovated three times in its life, the most recent in the late 1980’s. The mill itself is a vertical mill with two 16" flint/granite stones. It was built by the Meadow’s Milling Company in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.
Barker’s Creek Mill is still operated by Hambidge on the First Saturday of each month from 1p.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment to provide milling services to area farmers. Our volunteer miller, Woody Malot (also a Physics instructor in Rabun Gap) demonstrates the workings of this historic gristmill and is happy to answer any questions. Members of Woody’s family have been mill operators and builders since the 1750’s.
Grits and cornmeal stone ground at the mill from locally grown corn are regularly served up to our artists-in-residence and can be purchased in the Hambidge Gallery, or at the mill on First Saturdays.
The Hambidge Saturday Series invites the public to the campus on almost every Saturday for a series of rotating activities. Check the calendar for other Saturday events.
RC’s Good Spicy Cornbread
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Hambidge Stone-Ground Cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if you like it hotter)
1 cup butter milk
1/4 cup shortening (melted)
1 15oz can creamed sweet corn, no salt added
Pre-heat oven to 425º.
Mix dry ingredients together.
In a separate bowl mix eggs, milk, shortening and creamed corn together, do not over beat the mixture.
Gently fold the dry ingredients into the batter, mixing gently.
Pour mixture into a lightly oiled 10-inch cast iron skillet.
Bake for 30 minutes – check for a golden brown top.
Chef Rae's Creamy Stone Ground Grits
6 cups Water
6 cups Milk
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground White Pepper
4 tbs Butter
1 1/2 cups Stone Ground White Grits*
1 lb grated White Cheddar Cheese
In a large saucepan, over medium heat, combine water, milk, salt, pepper, and 2 tbs butter.
Bring the liquid to a gentle boil. Stir in grits.
Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.**
If the grits absorb all the water, add some hot water to thin them out.
Remove from heat and stir in the remaining butter and the cheese.
The grits can either be served immediately or prepared in advanced and reheated. If preparing in advance, grease a pan with butter. Pour the grits into the pan and reheat in a 400º oven for 15 minutes.
* If you are using Hambidge Stone Ground Grits, Chef Rae advises that you first soak them overnight to soften the kernel.
** Chef Rae advises that unless you stir constantly, the grits will likely stick to the bottom of the pan. Don't worry if this happens, just avoid thoroughly scraping the very bottom of the pan so that the scorched bits do not get incorporated into the main dish.