Please send corrections., 12 Sep 2020
Ossie Metcalf's Mill
The Metcalf Mill was a familiar
landmark for many of us who grew
up in north Buncombe County. It
was located on Hobson Branch
Road at the Forks of Ivy, on the
bank of Big Ivy Creek just a short
distance east of where Hobson
Branch Road intersects the Old
Mars Hill Highway and where Big
Ivy Creek joins Little Ivy Creek to
flow on toward the French Broad
River. The intersection of Hobson
Branch Road and Old Mars Hill
Highway also marks the boundary
between Buncombe and Madison

Three different mills occupied the
site over two centuries.

An old mill dating back to the 19th
century was washed away in a
flood in the early 20th century

Another mill was built at the site
and operated by Oscar Duckett
Zeb Foister at different times.

Ossie Vernon Metcalf purchased
that mill from Zeb Foister in the mid
He tore it down and replaced it with a new mill (the one shown in the photo) around 1937.

A great challenge of the construction project was to find a skilled millwright who could build the
elaborate wooden chutes required to move the grain, meal, and flour around the building during the
processing. While ordinary carpenters were available for a labor cost of one dollar per hour, a good
millwright commanded ten dollars per hour.

During World War II, the mill went out of service, but afterward was revived by W. D. Metcalf who
operated it for seven years more. During this period the mill ground as much as 600 bushels of corn
per week and distributed the bagged corn meal to grocery stores all over western North Carolina.
The mill used water power primarily, but kept a diesel engine for use in times of low water.

Later, the mill was operated by Paul Ramsey, and after that by Tony Roberts. The building was
destroyed in a fire lit by vandals in 1988. See the
report in the Madison News Record.
[This account is based on a telephone interview of W. D. Metcalf, by Dwight Childers, 27 Dec 2007.]