“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Red Bay in Franklin County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)

Yarber Grist Mill

Yarber Grist Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
1. Yarber Grist Mill Marker
Inscription. Yarber Grist Mill opened for business in February 1933, in a tin building on Main Street in downtown Red Bay. Preston Yarber, owner and operator, had moved to Red Bay from Belmont early in January that same year. The mill was located across the street from where the park is now. Ground corn meal and crushed livestock feed were the primary functions of the Grist Mill's day to day operation.

The livestock feed was made up of corn, hay, soybeans, and other ingredients raised by the farmers. They would bring these materials to the mill by wagon, tractor, truck and sometimes in the trunk of their cars to get it crushed, mixed and processed by the crusher. The original crusher was a John Deere gasoline-driven engine that was slow to operate, resulting in long lines and delays in getting the feed mixed and crushed. In 1946, the mill purchased a larger, faster O.B. Wise crusher driven by a 25-horse powered electric motor that sharply increased production, raising the feed output from 10-12 minutes to 3 minutes per hundred pounds.

The second and main part of the mill was to grind corn into corn meal. This was accomplished on what was then called a set of rocks housed in wooden or metal boxes. The two large circular rocks, measuring about 40 inches in circumference, were placed facing each other. One rock was stationary while
Yarber Grist Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
2. Yarber Grist Mill Marker
the other was turned by a pulley powered by another 25-horse powered electric motor. Shelled corn was poured into a hopper atop the rocks and gradually allowed to flow through a sifter into the crack between the two rocks and was ground into corn meal. The texture of the corn meal could be adjusted by turning a spindle to draw the rocks closer together. This is where the talents of the miller were put to the test. Because there was no other way to gauge the texture, the miller had to place his hand into the out-spout to feel the meal as it was coming out and then keep the rocks set at the precise intervals in order to maintain the proper consistency. This was an art that required years of experience and know-how. Yarber made corn meal for farmers from their own corn brought to the mill for processing. He also made corn meal which could be purchased off the shelf in the Grist Mill or from most of the grocery stores in and around Red Bay.

The mill closed in 1952.

Ben Collum, Hosey Orricks, Dewey Sartain, John Paul Davis and a Mr. Nix who was later run over by a train, worked in the Mill over the years. Sons Billy and Benny Yarber also worked there.
Erected by Sponsors: Dorothy Harris, Judy Bullen, Ben Yarber.
Location. 34° 26.451′ N, 88° 8.588′ 
Yarber Grist Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Sandra Hughes, October 1, 2013
3. Yarber Grist Mill Marker
W. Marker is in Red Bay, Alabama, in Franklin County. Marker is at the intersection of 2nd Street Southeast and 4th Avenue South (Alabama Route 24), on the left when traveling north on 2nd Street Southeast. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Red Bay AL 35582, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Red Bay Ice and Gin Company (here, next to this marker); Bay Theater (here, next to this marker); The Calaboose (a few steps from this marker); Pride in Our Past, Faith in Our Future (within shouting distance of this marker); Red Bay School (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Red Bay Depot & Hotel (about 600 feet away); Mac McAnally (approx. 6.2 miles away in Mississippi); History of Vina (approx. 6½ miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Red Bay.
Categories. Industry & Commerce
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 3, 2013, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. This page has been viewed 515 times since then and 47 times this year. Last updated on May 26, 2015, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 3, 2013, by Sandra Hughes of Killen, Usa. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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