Albany Mill

From THE ALBANY-CLINTON COUNTY SESQUICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION, 1836-1986, published in the Mountain Echo and transcribed and submitted by Lisa Haug.

One of the oldest landmarks in Clinton County is the Albany Mill. The original mill was built sometime in the mid 1890s and was located just across Mill Creek from the present day mill.

The Albany Mill has been operated by the Hancock family for more than 78 years and continues its operation today.

Brothers Plato and Will Hancock purchased the old mill in 1908 from W. L. Perkins. People from nearby counties in Kentucky and Tennessee would bring wheat and corn to be ground into flour and meal which was sold to local merchants, country stores and individuals. The Hancock brothers also owned a sawmill near the old Albany Mill. The original mill was operated by steam, and in its time was one of the most modern mills in operation.

In 1913 Will Hancock died, leaving the operation to his brother. In 1921 Plato moved the mill to its present site and put into operation the large water wheel, which replaced the steam-powered mill. A gate was placed in front of the water in the old Mill Pond, and when raised about six inches, buckets would pick the water up. As the wheel turned, the weight of the water would supply the power.

Plato continued to run the business until 1833, when his son, George, took over. George Hancock ran the mill until 1943, when he was called to the armed forces. George Shoopman, an employee for 30 years, ran the Hancock Mill until it closed in 1945. Upon his discharge from the service, George Hancock reopened the Albany Mill and continues to run the successful business today.

Hancock ceased to use the water wheel in 1952. Today the mill operates with electric grinding machinery, two-ton Hammermill mixers. The mill stopped grinding flour and meal about 12 years ago and now primarily produces grain, commercial feed and other farm products. Hancock delivers feed in a bulk truck and keeps the mill open 5 days a week year round to supply the farmers' needs.

Few mills like the Albany Mill are left in the country today. In 1950 Kentucky alone had more than 50 such mills; today there are only about six, including the Albany Mill, which is more than 95 years old.

Business at the mill still goes on today after all its years in existence. Good employees such as Jim, Lanny and Gail Bowlin, grandsons of first mill employee John Bowlin, keep the tradition living. Very few businesses in this day and time which pass on from one generation to another have had the success and respect of the Albany Mill.

And today, while standing in the mill, you can close your eyes and still hear the old mill wheel turning.

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