The History of Costley Mill
Costley Mill Park has a rich history. Long ago, the area was first settled by the Cherokee and Creek Indians. A worn sundial still exists even today.
As white settlers began to move into Georgia, a small group of white men settled along the Big Haynes Creek. This settlement grew to include the first school, a gristmill, a sawmill, a planing mill, and eventually a cotton gin. This area became known as Rockdale County and Costley Mill. The name came from the owner, James Luther Thomas Costley who paid for it with crops of cotton.
The mill was threatened by the Creek Indians, then survived General William Sherman’s March to the Sea during the Civil War. It burned in 1901, was rebuilt in 1904, only to burn a final death in 1973. This was a tragic close to an era that had begun in the early 19th century.
After the property had become overgrown and unkept for many years,
Syl and Beverly Bowman purchased it in May 1982. The Bowmans had a vision of the beauty it could be. They worked hard and invested time, effort and resources into renovating the land, preserving the historical significance, and bringing natural beauty.
The Bowmans sold the property to Rockdale County in June 2017.
The above picture is of the old mill and surrounding buildings after they were rebuilt in 1904. The buildings are where the pavilion now sits. This is the original Costley Mill Road.
The picture below is of a community BBQ in the mid 1800s. This original mill burned in 1901.
C.S. and Beverly Bowman