Prater’s Mill Foundation, Dalton, GA, USA

Prater's Mill Foundation

Commissioned to provide an interpretive planning workshop for the Foundation and other City of Dalton heritage sites (funded by a grant from North Georgia Electric).

Prater’s Mill was built in the mid-19th century. It is located in Varnell, Georgia. Serving the city of Dalton as a working mill, it is now used as the center piece of country fair that showcases cultural history of Southern Appalachia. The country fair consists of mountain music, Southern foods, and living history exhibits and the handmade crafts and original art of 185 talented artists and artisans. Crafts include blacksmithing, spinning, quilting, rug hooking, woodcarving, and hand tufting.

At the fair visitor’s take self-guided tours viewing the gristmill, the country store, Shugart Cotton Gin, and Westbrook Barn that has farm animals. Across from the mill, in 1898, the Prater’s store was built. It serves Southern meals that have, pinto beans, turnip greens and dried apple stack cake. Elsewhere throughout the festival are other specialties such as pit-cooked barbecue, apple cider, fried apple pies and churned ice cream. While at the fair, visitors enjoy canoeing on the Coahulla Creek, a walk down the nature trail and pony rides for children. Educational exhibits include a Civil War encampment, working antique engines and “Peacock Alley”, a clothesline display of hand-tufted bedspreads. Ongoing entertainment consists of on stage clogging, country bands, and gospel singers.