The present Hamburg Mill and its dam were built in 1921;
however this was not the first mill located at this site.
can see the original mill still standing in these pictures taken
during the construction of the new concrete dam.
At that time a now extinct town named Georgetown was located
six miles downstream from Warthen's new mill. Georgetown was a
major frontier trading post. Indians from as far as Alabama would
travel to Georgetown to trade and barter. Georgetown was a natural
outlet for the produce of the first Hamburg Mill.
The first mill at Hamburg ran until the early 1900s. T.B. Rachels
and his brothers purchased the property around 1895. Later the
property was acquired by Oscar Harrison and then sold to the Gilmore
brothers who became a prominent Washington County family. The
Gilmore brothers built the present mill, dam, and cotton gin in
1921-22. The brothers also farmed much of the surrounding area.
The mill was set up to grind both flour and corn meal. The Gilmore
borthers later sold the property to the Hall family whose members
still live in the area. Eventually the property was sold to Tarbutton
and Rawlings who deeded the property to the State of Georgia in
During the active years of ginning and milling the area of Hamburg
Mill were both work and community centers, and still remains a
wonderful place to socialize.
Prior to the invention of the steam engine, the only practical
alternatives to muscle power were the windmill and the watermill.
Horizontal water wheels were known in Greece as early as 100 B.C.