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Photo of man with two dulcimers standing outside near water and trees
Appalachian dulcimer-maker Tom Hicks from Lookout Mountain, Georgia, showing two of his dulcimers

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Prater's Mill
A Local Legacy

Twice a year Northwestern Georgia celebrates its cultural traditions on the grounds of a historic water-powered mill. The Prater Mill, located on the Coahulla Creek, was built by Benjamin Franklin Prater in 1855. During the Civil War, the mill was used as a campsite for soldiers on both sides. Since it was considered an important source of food, it was not destroyed. The Prater family operated the mill until the 1950s.

On Mother's Day and Columbus Day weekends, the mill goes back into operation by grinding yellow and white cornmeal. Other old-time industries are demonstrated during these weekends, such as blacksmithing and the making of furniture and musical instruments. One of these instruments is the dulcimer, a type of stringed instrument on which the strings are beaten with a small hammer rather than plucked.

Traditional Southern foods such as hoecakes and poke salad are served at these festivals, and Appalachian music is performed. Hoecakes are made of cornmeal shaped into a flat cake and baked or fried on a griddle. The hoecake got its name because it was sometimes baked on the blade of a hoe. Poke salad is made of a vegetable that grows wild in the eastern United States.

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