Dorn Mill

Dorn Mill (HM7C1)

Location: McCormick, SC 29835 McCormick County
Country: United States of America

N 33° 54.791', W 82° 17.755'

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Production of Cotton Byproducts

To persons familiar with the history of McCormick, the Dorn Mill stands as a symbol of the influence of the Dorn family in the region. It rests on land previously owned by Gold Mine "Billy" Dorn and Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaper.

Cyrus McCormick influenced the location of the railroad and in 1881 donated 40 acres of land for a town. By 1883, this town had a population of 200 people, and cotton gins and shipping were the major economic activities. In 1898, the McCormick's conveyed this portion of land to the railroad for construction of a steam-powered cotton seed oil mill and cotton gin.

After the invention of the cotton gin in 1793, the south became dependent on the one-crop economy of cotton. With the developing railroad system, which allowed more cotton to reach the marketplace, and introduction of textile manufacturing in the 1880s, the economy continued to be dominated by the growth, milling, and shipping of cotton products. Cottonseed, a byproduct of the ginning process, was viewed as having little value other than feed for livestock.

Plant Modernization
By the time of the mill's transformation into a highly engineered plant utilizing steam power, the energy saving methods pioneered by Oliver Evans (1795) were widely implemented. Corn and wheat moved by cups and belts (vertically) and screw conveyors (horizontally) through the milling process. The plant only required two employees, one to power the boilers and engines and the second the run the mill. The related lumberyard (owned by M.G. and J.J. Dorn) across the tracks to the northeast continued to provide sawdust/shavings as fuel for the steam plants. When the milling production ceased in the 1940s, the steam engines powered the cotton gin into the 1950s.

Loss of Productivity
Planters continued to meet the industrial demands and paid little attention to land conservation practices which reduced the natural productivity of the soil. In 1919 the boil weevil introduced yet another disastrous problem.

In response to the destruction of the main money crop, farmers finally made efforts towards crop diversification and livestock production. In the early 1920s, M.G. & J.J. Dorn (great-nephews of "Billy" Dorn) converted the mill for the production of meal, flour, and animal feed.

New Products
The cottonseed oil industry attained commercial importance in the South in the 1880s. The industry used the seed (a by product of cotton ginning) to produce marketable commodities such as: seed hulls for stock feed or fuel; linters for stuffing mattresses and pillows; and crude seed oil refined as edible oil.
HM NumberHM7C1
Series This marker is part of the South Carolina: South Carolina Heritage Corridor series
Placed BySouth Carolina Heritage Corridor
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014 at 3:51am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 380199 N 3753285
Decimal Degrees33.91318333, -82.29591667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 33° 54.791', W 82° 17.755'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds33° 54' 47.46" N, 82° 17' 45.30" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)864, 803
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1-61 N Main St, McCormick SC 29835, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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