After my last post, I found a National Register of Historical Places registration form for the Richfield Milling Company. The city of Richfield, in Stanley County, North Carolina, was founded in the late 1800’s by the Ritchie family, German immigrants who originally named the community as Ritchie’s Field. Corn and other agricultural products was the economic engine for most rural southeastern counties.
The Yakin Railroad was completed in 1891 between Salisbury and Norwood, with the newly charted town of Ritchie’s Mill as a stop just before Albermarle – the county seat. A few years later the city name was changed to Richfield. The railroad enabled growth in the county of agricultural manufacturing enterprises. In 1910, the Richfield Milling Company was founded, which provided local farmers with flour, corn meal, and livestock feed.
Later, the railroad also brought in grain from outside the county to be processed. Consequently, the mill grew to supply the local community, and to ship product by train to other communities. In 1950, the mill converted to exclusively animal feed production. By the 1980, the mill produced poultry feed for local farms and the Ralston Purina company. The mill closed in 1990.
I used my standard b&w workflow to process these images, which includes an emulation of Agfa APX 100 b&w film. Thanks for stopping by today. Click on an image to view a higher resolution version from my portfolio site.
Before the age of mega-agricultural companies, most farms and livestock owners depended on regional feed mills for animal food. The Bethel Milling Co. in Midland, North Carolina is a mostly abandoned example of this type of local feed manufacturing and distribution.
Like humans, animals have specific nutritional requirements to ensure health and profitability for the framer. Local mills like this one, would typically supply feed for specific livestock in the areas they served. From my research, Bethel Milling Co. mostly provided feed to poultry farms. Key ingredients included corn, barley and wheat.
While photographing the property, I noticed quite a bit of corn strewn on the ground throughout the feed elevator area. From my experience camping and backpacking, I know where there is food on the ground, there is also mice and rats. Where there are mice and rats, there are also snakes! Luckily, both were absence during my visit.
Corn and other raw materials are dumped in a large open container at the base of the feed elevator. Small buckets in the elevator carry feed to the top where gravity routes it along several pipes to various storage bins. There must be some type of mechanism at the top of the elevator which allows the operator to select which bin or bins get the feed.
There was also some cool equipment inside the main shed I plan to comeback and photograph when the sun is lower in the sky. Until then I hope you enjoy this post.
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