Located in Concord, North Carolina, the Bost Grist Mill preserves a historic 19th-century grist mill facility, offering a variety of public tour and demonstration programming and community special events. The history of the grist mill, a machine used to grind grains of all types into flour, dates back at least to 71 B.C. and the reign of King Mithradates VI Eupator in Asia Minor.
Early grist mills utilized horizontal paddle wheel technology, known as the Norse wheel as this type of technology was common in Scandinavia. Vertical wheel technology was introduced by the Roman Empire in the first century B.C., using water wheels powered by local aqueducts. By the Middle Ages, grist mills were in widespread use throughout Europe, with a distribution ratio of one grist mill in operation for approximately every 300 residents. Classical grist mills, which used a sluice gate and water wheel technology, were common throughout Britain and early America throughout the colonial and pioneer periods, with local farmers bringing grain to a public community facility and receiving ground processed flour in exchange for a small toll. At the end of the 18th century, inventor Oliver Evans revolutionized the milling process with the first fully automated grist mill, paving the way for modern grist mill industrial technologies.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries in America, the grist mill served as a prime economic indicator for developing regions, typically being constructed as an early community facility before the development of schools, churches, post offices, and other civic institutions. The Bost Grist Mill was established in Concord, North Carolina sometime around 1810, though the present mill facility was constructed in the 1870s. The mill, operated by the region’s Bost family, remains mostly in its historic condition today, though the facility was relocated 200 yards upstream along Rocky River after severe storms caused widespread flooding in the Cabarrus County region in 1908.
Tours and Attractions
Today, the Bost Grist Mill remains in its historic operation, still utilizing its original 40-inch French Buhr Millstone and 15-horsepower water wheel. The mill’s historic technology is noted as having been superior technology during the 19th century, as compared to other local mills which used granite grinding stone technology. The mill still serves as a central marketplace and civic facility for the Cabarrus County region today, primarily producing cornmeal and grits from local corn crops, and is still operated today by descendants of the Bost family.
In addition to its mill operations, the facility is open to the public as a living history museum facility, offering private tours and demonstrations bringing the history of 19th-century North Carolina agricultural and civic operations to life for modern visitors. Visitor groups wishing to explore the facility via guided tour should contact owner Gene Bost via phone or email, with tours offered for small groups and organizations, including curriculum-incorporated tour opportunities for elementary and secondary school students. The mill may also be opened at any time for milling service or cornmeal and grits sales by contacting the facility directly.
A historic Post Mill, dating back to the 19th century, is also available for rental and touring for public special events and educational programming. Demonstrations of post mill grinding of cornmeal and grits are presented by the Bost family upon request. Event coordinators and educators looking to book post mill demonstrations should contact the facility directly via phone or email with information about their event or classroom educational needs.
A variety of cornmeal products are offered for sale at the facility and via the mill’s website, including stone ground yellow and white cornmeal, yellow and white grits, and custom-made gift baskets with edible and gift items. All cornmeal products are packaged directly at the facility and meet high quality control and inspection standards. A wide variety of gift items are also offered at the mill’s gift shop, including handmade artisan and gift items by local crafters. Items may be shipped to those outside of the Cabarrus County region by special arrangement by contacting the facility directly via phone or email.
Ongoing Programs and Events
In addition to standard tours and demonstrations, the Bost Grist Mill offers a variety of public special events throughout the year, intended to educate members of the Cabarrus County community on the historic practices of grist mill and post mill operation. Annual special events include a Touch of Yesterday historic festival, featuring living history demonstrations and celebrations of 19th-century American culture, and a Civil War reenactment event. A Christmas at Bost Grist Mill event spans the first three weekends in December, offering gift basket door prizes, seasonal refreshments, and holiday gift item shopping. The facility may also be rented for private special events, including rental packages and services for weddings and receptions.
4701 NC-200, Concord, NC 28025, Phone: 704-782-1600