Weldon’s Mill is one of the most picturesque sites in Vance County, NC and it has been nominated for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
It is an 18th century gristmill which consists of a two story structure resting on a high stone foundation with the overshot wheel and sluice still in place. The original dam for the mill was an old board dam which was built by the Johnson family in the 1700’s.
It is believed that the Johnson family were the original owners of the property. The mill changed hands many times until it was bought by a Mr. Amos who was originally from Canada. At one time the mill was known as Amos’ Mill.
This is a picture of the Amos house that was still standing when Bill & Marie bought the property. Unfortunately, it was not in good condition at all and and began to fall down.
Original interior equipment remains in the mill. Although history of the building is incomplete, pegs, hand fashioned nails, broad hand-planed floor boards, and other interior features including ancient machinery indicate the mill is over two hundred years old. The mill as it stands now last operated in 1964.
Until 1917, there was a companion mill on the other side of the creek. The power from one dam was transferred to the second mill by a huge belt stretching across the stream. When heavy rains breached the dam, that mill was lost; however, repair crews recovered the stones which were installed in the remaining building. Remnants of the destroyed mill are still visible.
The store used to be in one end of the mill. In fact, that end of the mill contains a thick walled ice room which was used to store perishable foods. Ice was cut from the pond in the winter.
The present day store was built in the 1930‘s. Rock had to be blasted to form a level base for the building. Millers lived in the apartment above the store before a house was built behind the store for them. The store building has been used as a gas station/grocery store, auction house, and junk store / shed construction area before housing the Bees’ Knees Country Store.
The mill was then owned by Mr. O. W. Weldon and retains that name today. He was well known in the community and operated the mill and a grocery store on the property.
Mr. Weldon’s wife liked to fish so he built this covered area for his wife to sit and fish in the shade. It can still be seen today.
In 2005, Bill & Marie Craig bought the property and moved to North Carolina. Bill and Marie worked on the building the store is now located in for a year restoring it to a useable condition. When they first arrived in December, there was no heat, no insulation, and many of the windows were broken.
They selected, purchased, and displayed products. Bill took classes on running a small business. Marie and Bill both love to read and for years kept all the books that they purchased.
Bill has been keeping bees for 40 + years and had hives on site producing honey for the store since the store opened.
Bill and Marie loved this community and wanted to share it’s history with others. They began working and the bed and breakfast was constructed in 2009 and opened in 2010.