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Grimes Mill, One of the Last Roller Mills in America

Built in 1896, in the Second Empire Period style, Grimes Mill is one of the last roller mills in America.  The mill opened in 1897 as the North Side Roller Mill under the ownership of J.C. McCanless, D.R. Julian, N. B. McCanless and A.C. Mauney.  When the company went bankrupt in 1906, a Lexington investor, John D. Grimes, remodeled the mill and pulled operation back into gear.  The Mill produced flour as well as stock feed, bran, corn meal and poultry feed.  Originally the mill had three storage bins which Grimes expanded to twelve bins.  The ill chugged along, making a few production changes and additions until March 1963, when John Grimes, Percy Grimes’ son, shut down operations.  Three months later Davis Mills of High Point, one of the state’s largest flour-milling companies at the time, bought the mill.  By the time the mill closed in 1982, however stock feed was its main product. 

credit: Joanna Serah
[CC BY-SA 3.0

The authenticity of the mill, which has been left just as when it operated, hangs in the air like the flour left over from 80 years of milling.  Old machinery and a maze of wooden chutes stand in the building like giants guarding their castle.  Today, it houses original machinery as well as other tools and accessories of the miller’s trade.

This is from an article originally published in The Heritage of Rowan County, North Carolina by the Genealogical Society of Rowan County.1

Grimes Mill was purchased by the Historic Salisbury Foundation and restored; however, on 16 January 2013 it caught fire and burned to the ground. The Foundation sold the clay bricks for $100 each to raise money for site cleanup.2

  1. Kathy Sanford Petrucelli, editor, The Heritage of Rowan County, North Carolina (Salisbury, N.C.: Genealogical Society of Rowan County, 1991.)
  2. “North Carolina Salisbury,” Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, 8 Feb 2013, p. A5, col. 4; ( : accessed 11 Nov 2019.)