Bean’s Mill

Beans Mill on Halawaka Creek, S29 Lee County, AL (Chambers before 1866) is the site of one of the earliest mills in the Chattahoochee Valley. In 1834 Sam Carter and Henry Byrd built a sawmi1l, an up — down type since the circular saw had not been developed. In 1836 Mr. Byrd added a gristmill and when Moses Wheat and son Asbury purchased the property in 1837 they had hopes of great success in the firm of WHEAT AND SON. Tragically, only weeks after the mills were dedicated in January of 1838, Asbury was killed” by mill race timbers falling and crushing his head”.

After several changes in ownership, in 1848, John “Jack” Floyd purchased the property with his son Charles JetIerson (sic). In 1852, Floyd’s Mill Road was established (now US29 between Double Hill Road and Ridge Road.) The mills were a vital part of the area during the rest of the 19th century. Hiram Murphy was a partner with James C. Floyd in the late 1850’s. They had apparently just completed reconstructing the gristmill when, in 1861, Hiram” was thrown upon a broken, pointed piece of iron and his thigh pierced, from which he soon died.” The mills operated throughout the war years and several entries in the estate records refer to sales to “the government”. James went off to fight for the Confederacy and died in Richmond, VA in 1864. The Hiram Murphy and James Floyd estates were finally settled in 1869, well after Lee County was created.

In 1874 a flood washed out the gristmill (the dam and the sawmill across the creek survived). The property was petitioned by John W. Floyd to be sold, however, the request was rescinded and John W. with partner W.H.H. Griffin built the gristmill now reconstructed and owned the mills until their deaths when B J Meadows bought the mills in estate sales. In 1903 George W. Bean purchased” The Floyd Mill Place” and it has been called Beans Mill since then.

In 1897 the first iron bridge in Lee County was built at Floyds Mill. In 1928 the present bridge replaced it and in 1929 the first paved highway in Lee County was opened from West Point to Opelika. Mr. Bean installed a Fitz waterwheel around 1910 to replace the old patched turbine.

In the 1930s a canning school was set up by the extension service. The remains of the “cannery” still exist. In 1939 FDR, on his way from Opelika to Warm Springs, stopped his motorcade for a visit.

Mr. Bean died in 1952 and the site was virtually abandoned until John and Faye Ross bought the property in 1989. The gristmill built in 1875 has now been reconstructed, not as a business but for folks to get a glimpse of how things were, over a hundred years ago.

For more information about the mill please contact:
John & Faye Ross
6247 US 29N
Opelika, Al 36804

This entry was published on March 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm. It’s filed under Alabama, flowers, lifestyle, Nature, Nature Trails, Opelika, Photography, southern living, Uncategorized, Water Mill, wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

20 thoughts on “Bean’s Mill

  1. wonderful background history on this (almost 200 yr) mill site. As a former carpenter the shiplap siding caught my attention. Looks in better shape than any vinyl and aluminum used today. Water power is what moved this country forward in the early years – I’d like to see a resurgence on a community level for the future. Thanks for a good read and photos. Aloha.

    • It’s in remarkable condition. If structures today were built half as well as they were back then. Water is one of those elements that is overlooked in communities these days – it’s not chic…

  2. A little history and some beautiful images. Thank you.

  3. What a lovely grist mill, and in fantastic condition. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. The photos are fantastic ! My ancestors were millers and all of the grist mills that they worked on along the Ohio River are long gone. There is one left though here in Maryland, I’ll post on it soon.

    • Glad you enjoyed it. I love old mills – well, make that any old structure. So many of the old mills are dying out, it’s a profession that has gone by the wayside. Too sad. Looking forward to your posting about the one in Maryland.

  4. I know very little about North American history but I love how you have used beautiful photographs to help convey the history.

    • Thank you, I love history and photography. The two seem to work well together:) I’m really not that comfortable writing either 🙂 So photographs really help! Thank you for visiting my blog.

  5. teawithbetty on said:

    Love your photos…a wonderful view of the history of this mill. So nice that you document its history with your beautiful photography.

  6. Hello Steff, I’ve only just discovered your blog but I think it’s excellent. I love reading about your part of the world which I haven’t yet visited and I’d like to nominate your blog for the Versatile Blogger Award.

    If you don’t want to accept that’s fine, but if you do, the award requests that you nominate your favourite fifteen blogs and notify them of the nomination, share seven facts about yourself, and lastly display the award logo on your website (a copy of the logo can be lifted from here:

    • Hi Finn,
      Sorry for the delay in reply. We’re in the middle of moving into our new place and we’ve just really gotten the the computer up. I’ve been trying to catch up using my phone and that hasn’t worked to well. Thank you so much for the nomination, but I’m so new at this blogging. I’m so honored and pleased that you find my blog interesting 🙂
      Thank you again,

  7. Stephanie, what a wonderful post. The camera work was great and so was the writing. I have an idea about a place that I could never have imagined becuase of the pictures and desciption. And the history of who bought what and who died trying to improve things lent a piece of humanity to the whole thing. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • Thank you so much! What a wonderful comment. You have made my day! I’m not a natural fluid writer, words don’t fly forth from my pen – make that keyboard- so I use photos to help illustrate and share the experience. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. 🙂

  8. As I taught American history for 33 years I enjoy pictorial essays like this very much. Thanks visit my blog

  9. Thanks for stopping by!!! Great blog, looking foward to your images !!!

  10. Amazing story – love the photographs too! Many tragedies, but also triumph =D

  11. I love that it’s still standing after all these years and somewhat still in use. 🙂

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