Varnell, Ga. and Prater’s Mill

Varnell is in Whitfield County.  Chattanooga to Varnell 29 miles south.  The town was incorporated in 1968.

The historic Varnell Home is beside the City Hall.  The town has a couple of small town stores including a Dollar General.  Across from the Varnell home is a small park with a spring.   The railroad runs through the town.

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Historic Varnell Home

This historic home was build in 1847 by “Dry Dan Dold” for M. P. Varnell, a pioneer settler of this community. In the War Between the States, this home was used as a temporary hospital by Federals and Confederates. Several skirmishes and engagements were fought around this place in May, 1864. Gen. Joe Wheeler and his Confederate Cavalry attacked here on May 12, 1864, and drove Federals from this town, killing and wounding more than 150. Federals immediately returned, and this home was used as Headquarters by several Federal commanders. Many “minnie balls” struck this house in the battles fought here.

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VARNELL HOME

Historic Varnell Springs (picture below)

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Prater’s Mill  – established 1855

Built by Benjamin Franklin Prater in 1855, the water powered mill was originally fitted with the latest in grain cleaning, grinding and sifting machinery, all powered by the Coahulla Creek.  Prater added a cotton gin, a saw mill, a wool carder (device that combs sheep wool), a syrup mill, a general store and blacksmiths shop.    The mill was used by both sides as a campsite during the Civil War.   The Prater family operated the Mill until the 1950’s.  Several millers ran it until the 1960’s. In 1971, the Prater’s Mill Foundation took over the Mill.

On May 1995, a fire was intentionally set on the north side of the mill.  Most of the damage was sustained on the interior of the mill as the flames shot around the hand-hewn timbers. The force of the fire blew out most of the windows, damaged the roof, siding, electrical system, and destroyed an antique display case.  5845 Ga. Hwy 2.

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BARN AT PRATER’S MILL

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