Dorn Mill – McCormick County, South Carolina
South Carolina | SC Picture Project | McCormick County Photos | Dorn Mill
Dorn Mill was built as a cottonseed mill in 1898 and converted into a flour and gristmill in the 1920s. It operated continuously until the 1940s.
After the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, “King Cotton” became increasingly important to the economy of the South. The spread of railroads enabled farmers to reach wider markets and the textile industry thrived. Cottonseed was a by-product of the ginning process and used primarily for animal feed.
When the boll weevil caused the rapid decline of cotton in the 1920s, Dorn Mill retooled with modern steam engines and boilers and converted to a mill that processed wheat and other grains. Primary products were ground corn meal for sale in local stores, chicken and animal feed, and flour for local farmers’ home use.
The boilers were powered by sawdust and wood chips from a nearby lumber yard that was also owned by the Dorn family. Only two people were needed to run the mill. One person fired the boilers and operated the machinery and the second person waited on customers.
SCIWAY thanks photographer Larry Gleason of Aiken for sharing these photos.