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    N&O Article re Edwards' Mill (6/26/98)

Triangle History: Old grist mill,
overtaken by development, recalls
county's agrarian roots


By RYAN BROOKS, Staff
Writer

        Back in the early '80s, Randy Locke met an old-timer, now dead, who told him about the remains of a 200-year-old grist mill, collapsed and nearly forgotten on House Creek in North
        Raleigh. It was the original Edwards' Mill, the old-timer said, where nearby Edwards Mill Road got its name. Locke hiked the creek several times after that and saw stacks of rocks and a large granite millstone.
        Last spring he returned to the spot, which is about a quarter mile upstream from where House Creek empties into the much larger Crabtree Creek. The stacks and the millstone were gone.
Photo Courtesy Of The N.C. Division Of Archives And History
This photo of Edwards' Mill on House Creek in what is now North Raleigh was taken about the turn of the century. The remains of the mill were scattered during recent development.
After Hurricane Fran, the installation of sewer lines, and the widening of
the Beltline in that area, all that was left were some stray rocks and a few
waterlogged timbers.
Call it the mill that history forgot. The physical evidence has dwindled,
and little historical writing deals with Edwards' Mill.
There's even some confusion about the mill's exact location. Historians
say the site was actually farther downstream, at the mouth of Crabtree
Creek.
What is known is that the mill was purchased in 1866 by J. Thomas
Edwards, who was succeeded as owner by his son D.M. Edwards.
Edwards bought the mill from Scott Tucker, who had bought it from Hines
Whitaker. The Edwardses traced the mill's ownership back to 1766, which
would have made it the oldest mill in a 2-mile area that included Lassiter's
Mill and Whitaker's Mill.
None of the mills is still standing.
In 1925, Susan Iden wrote a story for The Raleigh Times called
"Edwards Mill Section One of Most Beautiful Corners of Wake County."
Iden wrote: " ... Crabtree flows through one of the wildest and most
beautiful sections of Wake County, almost mountainous with its deep
gorges, its dense clumps of twisted laurel trees, rhododendron and trailing
arbutus."
Still functioning at that point, the mills eventually would be engulfed by
the northern expansion of Raleigh.