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McCormick in McCormick County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Dornís Mill / Dorn Gold Mine

 
 
Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, April 8, 2011
1. Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker
Inscription.
Dorn's Mill
Built ca. 1899, this steam-powered mill employed a milling process pioneered earlier by inventor Oliver Evans, which virtually eliminated manual labor. First known as the McCormick Enterprise Ginnery, the mill became the Dorn-Finley Co. in 1917, its purpose "to operate, conduct, and carry on an oil mill, cotton gin and grist mill." Dorn's Mill closed in the 1940s.

Dorn Gold Mine
Area resident William B. Dorn discovered gold here and developed this mine which produced a yield of $72,000 from 1857 to 1859. The mine was later operated by Cyrus Hall McCormick, inventor of the reaper, for whom the town of McCormick is named. The mine operated at intervals until as late as the 1930s.
 
Erected 1983 by McCormick County Historical Commission. (Marker Number 33-9.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the South Carolina, McCormick County Historical Commission marker series.
 
Location. Marker has been reported missing. It was located near 33° 54.767′ N, 82° 17.833′ W. Marker was in McCormick, South Carolina, in McCormick County. Marker was on North Mine Street, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker
Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, April 8, 2011
2. Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker
is located in an island at the intersection of North Mine, North Main and 5th Ave. The marker itself was knocked down several years ago. It then rested at the base of the pole and is partially covered by flowers. Marker was in this post office area: Mc Cormick SC 29835, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within 6 miles of this location, measured as the crow flies. Dorn Mill (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); McCormick County / MACK (about 800 feet away); McCormick County Veterans Monument (approx. 0.2 miles away); McCormick County Confederate Monument (approx. ľ mile away); McCormick Train Station (approx. ľ mile away); Badwell / Badwell Cemetery (approx. 2.2 miles away); Welcome to Baker Creek State Park (approx. 4.1 miles away); Long Canes Massacre (approx. 5.2 miles away); Long Cane Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church (approx. 5.2 miles away); Edmunds Family History / Samuel Calhoun Edmunds (approx. 5.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in McCormick.
 
Also see . . .
1. McCormick to recognize the 125th anniversary of Dorn's Mill. "Quasquicentennial"- what a tongue twister - is simply a different way to say one hundred and twentyfive years. (Submitted on September 12, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

2. Dornís Flour and Grist Mills
Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 5, 2008
3. Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker
. Dornís Flour and Grist Mills is a two-and-a-half story red brick structure with projecting one-story wings. (Submitted on September 12, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

3. Dorn Gold Mine. The Dorn Gold Mine is an area of nineteenth century mining operations consisting of horizontal shafts, vertical pits and a larger trench which extends approximately 200 feet. (Submitted on November 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

4. Timeline for Dorn's Mine and McCormick Area. Timeline from 1799-1916, pulled from various internet sources. (Submitted on December 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

5. Oliver Evans. Oliver Evans (13 September 1755 – 15 April 1819) was an American inventor. (Submitted on November 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

6. Cyrus McCormick. Cyrus Hall McCormick, Sr. (February 15, 1809 – May 13, 1884) of Rockbridge County, Virginia was an American inventor and founder of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, which became part of International Harvester Company in 1902. (Submitted on November 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 

7. McCormick, SC. McCormick is a town in McCormick County, South Carolina, United States. (Submitted on November 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.) 
 
Additional comments.
Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 5, 2008
4. Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker

1. Dorn's Flour and Grist Mill
Dorn's Flour and Grist Mill is a 2 1/2-story red brick structure with projecting one-story wings. Constructed ca. 1898 as a cotton gin, the mill is an outstanding example of rural industrial architecture. The extant steam engines and boilers date from the period when the building was used as a cotton gin, but the grist mill equipment dates from the 1920s.

Stepped parapets are incorporated on both one and two story sections. The corners of the building are further supported by angle buttresses. Wide-gabled dormers on both the east and west facades project from the standing-seam tin roof. Dominant feature of the exterior is a three-story brick wall of cross-shaped plan which was built in 1915 to support a water tower. The tower provided back-up pressure for the boilers in case the steam water ejector pump failed. The tank has since fallen from its support, thereby causing extensive damage to the west wing.

From the railroad siding on the north side of the mill, hopper cars were loaded with grain and corn. A wooden channel extended from the 2nd floor of the elevator through the wall and over the siding. The exterior portion of this channel has since collapsed.

Exterior door and window openings are surmounted by segmental brick arches of two and three header courses. Window sashes are
Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott, September 5, 2008
5. Dorn's Mill / Dorn Gold Mine Marker
six-over-six lights, all of which are either missing or badly deteriorated.

The interior of the mill is its most salient feature. It is divided into five rooms on the first floor with two rooms in the upper section of the elevator. The structural system consists of 12" x 12" columns with chamfered edges supporting ceiling joists of the same dimensions. The exterior brick walls are load bearing, and all of the interior framework is exposed.

The southeast room houses the power plant for the mill: two one-cylinder steam engines and their boilers. These engines provided a source of power which was reliable, easily regulated, and cheap to operate. Dorn's Mill utilized wood chips from a local lumber yard for fuel. Both the steam engines and their boilers are intact, but the roof in this area of the building is deteriorating due to the collapse of the boiler exhaust stacks

The principal room of the mill is located on the first floor of the elevator section. In this area are located two large mill stones encased in a wooden platform, various pulleys and belts encased in wooden shafts, the grain cleaners, and the sacking machinery. The majority of this equipment is not encased, thereby exposing the thousands of mechanical components. The equipment that is enclosed is encased in wooden housings exhibiting fine quality mouldings and craftsmanship. The second floor
Dorn Mill image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
6. Dorn Mill
features a flour dresser which separated the different grades of flour, and a corn cleaner which removed objects from the corn.

The shed room located east of the elevator housed the cotton oil machinery. The south wall of this room has collapsed, thus exposing the intricate machinery to the weather. The room west of the elevator contains six grain storage bins, but the roof is deteriorating due to the collapse of the water tank.

Significance
At one time many small towns throughout rural America utilized the services of mills similar to Dorn's Mill in McCormick, South Carolina. With the development of a more complex mill technology, many of these mills disappeared. Dorn's Mill is significant as one of only a few such mills still standing--its steam engines, boilers, and most of its machinery still intact.

Peter Cousins, Curator of Agriculture at Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum says:

"Dorn's Mill represents the rural locally based grist mill in adaptation to the new technology of milling. The irony, of course, is that the complexity and cost of modern milling led to the concentration of the industry...and the ultimate demise of small mills in other areas--such as Dorn's."

The actual construction date for Dorn's Mill is not known; however, there is evidence of its being built ca. 1898. Deeds are available which indicate
Dorn Mill image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
7. Dorn Mill
a sale from a Mrs. McCormick to McCormick Enterprise Ginnery, Ca. (l898). In 1899 the property was purchased by the McCormick Cotton Oil Company; in 1902 by the Anderson Phosphate Company. In 1914 the "oi1 mill and ginnery p1ant" were sold to the Farmers Gin Co. In 1917 this property was conveyed to M.G. Dorn, J.S. Dorn, and Preston Findley who formed the Dorn-Findley Corporation. Its general purpose was to "operate, conduct and carry on an oil mill, cotton gin and grist mill." In the mid 1920s the Dorns hired a mill wright to put in the present corn and wheat machinery as well as a hammer mill.

The mill operated throughout the years and ground commercial corn meal for sale in local and country stores, flour from wheat for local farmers (not for commercial sale) and chicken and animal feed.

The mill required one person to fire the boilers and operate the machinery. The boilers were fired with wood shavings brought by wagon from the planer mill and dumped through the large doors into the boiler room. Another person handled the milling operation weighing farmer's grain, grinding and sacking commercial meal, etc.

The mill closed in the 1940s. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
    — Submitted December 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

Dorn Mill image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
8. Dorn Mill
2. The Dorn Mine

The Dorn Mine is an area of the 19th century mining operation located...The site is partially overgrown with pine trees and surface vegetation, but much of the mining area is clearly visible. The mine area consists of horizontal shafts, vertical pits and a large trench which extends approximately 200 feet. There are no above surface remains of mill buildings which stood at the site. The area has not been greatly disturbed since the late 19th century, and the integrity of the site is well preserved.

Significance
The Dorn Mill is one of the most important gold mine sites in South Carolina. The mine was struck in 1852 by William Dorn, who excavated nearly one million dollars in gold before the vein was exhausted in the late 1850s. Dorn used slaves to excavate the dirt and employed several different types of mills to process the gold. Dorn became a wealthy man but lost much of his fortune after the Civil War. the mine was sold in 1869 to inventor Cyrus McCormick, who spent over $200,000 in a futile search for another rich strike. In 1882 McCormick ceased his search for gold and began selling his land which would become the town of McCormick. Most of the late 19th and 20th century mining took place northeast of the Dorn mine, thus preserving the integrity of the original site. The mine has not been significantly altered.

Other
Dorn Mill Entrance image. Click for full size.
By Brian Scott
9. Dorn Mill Entrance
Information

The Dorn Mine site is used annually during "Gold Rush Days" for exhibits on gold mining. There is a great deal of interest by citizens of McCormick to use this site as a state or town park because of its substantial interpretive value and history. (Source: National Register nomination form.)
    — Submitted December 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.

3. Missing
As you can see from the photos, the marker was broken off of it's pole. It is now missing. Since these signs are not free, the sponsoring group has to pay for them, I don't know if it will be replaced.
    — Submitted July 30, 2013, by John Huoni of Greenwood, South Carolina.

 
Categories. AgricultureIndustry & CommerceNotable BuildingsNotable PersonsNotable PlacesSettlements & Settlers
 
William Burkhalter Dorn<br>(1799–1876) image. Click for full size.
The Making of McCormick County by Bobby F. Edmonds, December 8, 2009
10. William Burkhalter Dorn
(1799–1876)
Cyrus Hall McCormick, Sr.<br>(1809–1884) image. Click for full size.
U.S. Library of Congress
11. Cyrus Hall McCormick, Sr.
(1809–1884)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 12, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 2,825 times since then and 107 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week September 9, 2012. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on April 22, 2011, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on September 12, 2008, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   10. submitted on December 8, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.   11. submitted on November 25, 2009, by Brian Scott of Anderson, South Carolina.
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