Finks Mill one of the last operating stone grist mills in the Southeast

December 11, 2010

Finks Mill one of the last remaining operational stone ground grist mills in the Southeast.
Finks Mill one of the last remaining operational stone ground grist mills in the Southeast.

Farmers come for miles to have their corn stone ground

Many years ago, grist mills were in most communities, as local farmers brought their corn or grains to be ground for selling or personal use.

Over the years, with the influx of large commercial operations that produce meal for the masses buy creating ready-to-eat mix, the local mills have declined to only a few surviving across the United States. These few mills cater to farmers bringing their corn to be stone ground, mostly for their own consumption.

Just past Gaskin, on the Walton County, Fla., Geneva/Covington, Ala. border you will find one of the last remaining operational stone grist mills in the Southeastern United States, Finks Mill.

The mill was originally built in 1932, and passed through two hands until the Fink family took over in the early 1950s. The mill is currently operated by Rodney Fink and owned by his father, Quin.

Cornmeal ground as fine as you like at Finks Mill.
Cornmeal ground as fine as you like at Finks Mill.

Originally run by water turbines driven Natural Bridge Creek, the mill is now generated by an old tractor engine, as the water turbines were damaged during a flood several years ago, and never repaired.

Finks Mill caters to farmers across the Southeast, some traveling many miles to reap the benefits of having their corn stone ground. Such was the case on Dec. 10, as Leon Clyatt, a farmer from Chiefland, Fla. drove more than 300 miles to have his corn stone ground.

“There is nothing like it,” Leon quipped, “it just tastes better than anything out there on the store shelves,” he continued.

Currently the mill processes about 8,000 lbs of corn during its short operating season. The mill is open on Saturdays during corn harvest season. Call Dolly at (334) 504-1778 to set up a milling time. The mill is not open every day, so call to first. The mill is located east of Florala, Alabama on Sh 54 about four miles, veer right onto Cr 4/Fink Mill Road. Go about 3 miles to the mill on the left at Geneva Co line.

Finks Grist Mill from Walton Outdoors on Vimeo.

    1. Is this mill near Tallahassee? We are coming up there.

    1. my grandfather, william zorn was one of the original owners of this mill. i have written a book which includes some fun time
      of our family way back when. the title of my book is”two little indians and the sister made three”. my only surviving brother, mark zorn and i visited your mill about two months ago. my how things have changed from our time there in the early 40ish to what is there now. it was so good to see the major changes to perserve this old, but sweet place for people to enjoy and remember. we were dissappointed to not be able to buy meal and see the inside of the mill once again. when you have completed your updating, please e-mail me hope to return and make another visit.

      thank you for taking care of this good ole
      days mill. sincerely,

      mary frances ZORN williams

    1. Our father, William Lanier Fink, purchased the mill from the Henderson’s. He always told us that it was built by the Zorn’s. The mill is located on County Road 4 which runs parallel to the Florida line. The county road is named “Fink Mill Rd” with the Covington/Geneva County line approximately 200 yards from the mill. It was a wonderful way to grow up, working at the mill. We all had a hand in it doing different things. My brothers did the physical labor usually around the mill and I ran the vendor routes to the grocery stores and restaurants. There are so many memories tied to the mill, from Dad or my brothers getting up at 2:00 am during a rain storm to pull the gates to all the stories about the regular customers that would come in the fall. Dad and Mom have passed now and I wish they were here to witness my brothers painstakingly restoring the foundation and water wheels (turbines). I know from experience that if I want to run into my brothers at the mill, to go on a beautiful day. They are usually there doing something. We Finks have a great respect for history, whether it is ours or someone else’s. Most of the modifications done are due to State and Federal laws. Believe me, if we didn’t have to change anything about the mill, we wouldn’t.

    1. WailonHhenderson is my grandfather, we are planning to come see the mill. i really look forward to see it again, it has been years. Rene`

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