Raines Mill, Long Creek, SC
Raines Mill is the located on the banks of Fall Creek, a tributary to the National Wild & Scenic Chattooga River. It is surrounded by National Forest and a grove of giant Hemlocks. The 60 acres surrounding the Raines Mill is under a conservation easement, protecting its natural beauty, influence on the Chattooga River water quality and historical value to the area.
Built around 1914, the building itself is a 3-story structure with a 40 ft. tall overshot water wheel. The bottom story, the basement, approx. 16ft. x 16ft., has a concrete slab and rock foundation walls, the main floor and upper level are approximately 16ft. x 32 ft. each that are stick built.
When originally purchased by Rev. Luther H. Raines there was a wooden wheel that was soon replaced by the 40ft. tall metal wheel. The metal wheel was built by Anderson Foundry in Anderson, SC, and we think this wheel is still the largest overshot wheel in 3 area states. The three sets of falls along Fall Creek were high enough to feed the wheel by gravity alone. In its time, Raines Mill ground corn & wheat in the daytime and generated power for the Historic Long Creek Academy at night. The Raines family worked on the mill in the 80's to help stabilize it, but at this point it needs much work to preserve and protect it.
Hikers and waterfall enthusiasts across the southeast have been visiting and enjoying the historic Raines Mill property for many years, but as the mill continues to deteriorate, we are afraid that it will become too hazardous to keep open to public foot traffic. The goal for this funding is to stabilize the rock foundation while maintaining the rock feature on the outside, replace support beams at the foundation level & beams that support the upper floors, rebuild the framing & joists where needed, replace the roof & siding and complete the deck overlooking the Lower Falls. The water wheel still spins, so we would like to repair the sluice way that brings the water to the overshot wheel. We want the community to be able to continue to enjoy this beautiful place!
We will be putting a lot of sweat equity into this project to save on the restoration budget.
This is what we have accomplished on the project so far:
- acquiring the property;
- clearing and restoring the original road to access the mill;
- removed invasive species, including Kudzu and Privet from around the mill;
- rid the property of construction trash from previous owners;
- dug out dirt around the mill structure to prevent further erosion and water damage;
- added supports on the walls to secure the building until re-framing starts;
- removed dangerous steps on side of mill;
- started building trails to access other waterfalls on the property;
- purchased and installed 2nd floor support beams
Below is a rough sketch of what we hope the mill will look like once restored. After the mill is structurally sound with the Kickstarter funding, we will finish by creating a "glamping" space for visitors. We will have electricity but may not have enough funding to put in a well at this time. Follow our project to track our progress, we'll update this space frequently so you can share in our journey with pictures and videos as we restore this historic mill.
The end goal is to restore and protect Raines Mill, a historical treasure not only to the local community and Oconee County, SC, but also to hikers and waterfall enthusiasts from around the southeast.
This restoration project is going to take a lot more than $20k to complete. Realistically, it will take $120k, however it is important to restore the mill so that it is safe for visitors like you. We want to be able to continue to share this beautiful place with you!
Fall Creek has a series of 3 waterfalls within 200 yds. of the Mill, with several other waterfalls downstream as it makes its way to the Chattooga River. Hiking trails offer great views and access to each of the falls for swimming and great photos!
Risks and challenges
We have a lot to do to get this project up and going! The remoteness of the property will always be a challenge, but that comes with its advantages- private, peaceful, undisturbed tranquility! We need to re-grade the land around the building to shed the water away from the mill rather than into it. The whole building needs to be re framed and roofed to secure the structure. That will require us to jack up and support the 2nd floor in order to rebuild the walls on the first floor. that will then allow us to re-frame the second floor and re-roof. It is our desire to find rough sawed siding to put back on the outside of the mill for an authentic look. We will then be able to work on the interior- insulation, interior walls, floors, windows, doors, decking, etc.
It is a 40 year old love of this mill and our desire to save it for the community and others that drives us to complete the restoration.
We are very excited about this project, but really can't do this without your help!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)