Modern Amenities, Southern Charm

The Oldest Continuously Running Business in Clemmons

1920 was a pivotal year in American history. It heralded the arrival of the Roaring Twenties with its Flappers, jazz, automobiles, movies and other ‘pleasures’. A small barely noticed statistic also emerged. For the first time the Census showed that more Americans lived and worked in an urban, rather than rural, environment. A trend that would only continue.

In spite of this, a Mr. L.C. Hobson of Yadkin County perceived the need for a facility that local farmers could use to grind corn and mix feed. (Definition: A building in which whole grain is crushed and ground to make flour and/or feed). He built the Clemmons Milling Company on Hampton Road, near the junction with U.S.Highway 158, as a speculative enterprise. A buyer, Mr. J. Ezra. Brewer, also recognizing the need, soon appeared and in October 1920 ownership changed hands. The mill was to remain in the family for the next 68 years, in fact, it was often referred to by local residents as the Brewer Mill. Several members still live in our area.

The facility grew from its basic roots to a ‘one stop shop’ for local farmers. The original structure covered only 4200 sq. feet. Over the years, as business grew, various improvements were added including, in 1944, a basement for a new mixing room which was manually excavated by German prisoners of war from a nearby detention facility, probably in Forsyth County. (During World War 11 North Carolina hosted several thousand P.O.W.’s of all nationalities).

From 1953 the brothers Dennis and Robert Plato Brewer ran the mill until in 1988, the decision was made to sell to Budd Services, a local mini-conglomerate service company. In 1992 Budd leased the mill to a Mr. Frank Hinman who remained in charge until late 1994 when it was decided to donate the business to High Point University. In 1998 The Clemmons Milling Company was finally sold to LTD Farm and Garden in King, NC. LTD, a thriving agricultural supply company, that runs the operation today.

Stop by the old mill and savor the ambiance of almost a century of existence. Imagine the business as it was. Farmers arriving with their horse-drawn wagons bringing harvests for grinding and mixing accompanied by the constant noise of the machines that did the work. Their high-pitched hum now forever silenced. Modern economies require larger ‘everything’ to remain viable. We shall not see the likes of our small working mill again, but in partnership with LTD, the Clemmons Mill can still provide all one needs for agriculture, gardens, domestic animals and advice (always free!).

In 2020 ‘our’ mill will celebrate a century of service to the community. Long may it continue to reign as the oldest continuously active business in the Village of Clemmons.

David Cross

Comments(2)

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    Judy & George Burns says:

    Thank you for this enlightening addition to the Clemmons Village website! As newbies to the state and area we’ll be sure to read each entry and look forward to visiting the charms of our new neighbors.

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    Dennis Dalton says:

    What an outstanding addition to the website! This piece is informative and well-written. It’s an example of Clemmons’ rich history. Thanks for sharing 👍👍

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