Murray's Mill



  Loftin    Setzer    Goble    Johnson


Catawba, NC


Murray's Mill

Murray & Mingus
General Store


Small Two-Story


Harvest Folk

Murray's Mill

Filmed at
Murray's Mill











To Find 'Em





























































































































Murray's Mill, Catawba, NC


Current Mill Constructed: 1913

1489 Murrays Mill Rd  
Catawba, NC


Murray's Mill
Source: Catawba County Historical Association, Historic Murray's Mill

The centerpiece of the historic district of Catawba County is Murray’s Mill, built by John Murray, whose father, William, had operated a mill on the site since 1883. In 1906, William deeded the property to his sons, John and O.D. In 1907, John Murray acquired a 5/6 interest from his brother O.D., who would take over operation of the general store. In 1913, John replaced his father’s mill with the current two-story structure, adding a 22’ overshot waterwheel, in lieu of the former turbine. Making room for the mill’s expansion, the Murrays moved the general store at that time to its present location. In 1938, John’s son, Lloyd, raised the dam six feet and installed the 28’ waterwheel (it’s said that William’s original wooden dam stands beneath the surface of the present pond).


Inside Murray’s Mill, visitors will find William’s original, one-ton French buhr millstones, for grinding corn, as well as Sprout & Waldron roller mills that John installed for grinding wheat into flour. All of the mill’s storage bins, each partitioned by tongue and groove sheathing, have been preserved, too. When the CCHA overtook the mill’s restoration in 1980 the bins still held flour from the day Lloyd Murray shut the doors due to bureaucratic red tape and increasing taxes.


Murray's Mill prior to the 1913 construction to the new mill

A designated National Historic Site, Murray's Mill Historic District presents life as it was at the beginning of the 19th century, telling its story through a series of preserved historic buildings and antique items. Major buildings on display are the restored mill, a general store, a wheathouse and the home of John Murray, former owner of the mill. The general store is stocked with items recalling times past while the wheathouse is used for exhibitions of works by local artists. Located in the pastoral hills of eastern Catawba County, the complex sits along the banks of Balls Creek.
In 1980 the Catawba County Historical Association became the custodians of this Catawba County historical site.


A restored Murray's Mill


Murray's Mill - 1996 - prior to construction of new road


[Carolyn Weeks Loftin and her Chihuahua, Simcha]


A view of Murray's Mill in October 2013


Video 1 of Murray's Mill - CLICK HERE  (0:51 seconds)


Video 2 of Murray's Mill - CLICK HERE  (0:27 seconds)


Video 3 of Murray's Mill - CLICK HERE  (0:59 seconds)



Looking toward the mill pond from a nearby harvested corn field

Murray & Mingus General Store
Source: Catawba County Historical Association, Historic Murray's Mill

Inside “the mercantile department of O. D. Murray and Company,” the two-story, gable-front general store (later assuming an additional name, Minges, through a marriage), visitors can crack the lid of an antique Coca-Cola refrigerator and grab a drink in the bottle. The store is also stocked with old-fashioned wooden toys, such as yo-yo’s and finger tops, as well as pioneer folk toys. Sweet-tooths will find local honey, Mary Janes, Cow Tails, Striped Coconut, as well as a mix of modern candies. Old-fashioned soaps and salves and Happy Home Flavorings (some popular with fish, according to the fisherman who stop in), are joined by locally made bonnets and aprons, and Murray’s Mill tee-shirts, bags, magnets, and mugs. The store is also a convenient way to pick up one of the CCHA’s many historical publications. Bead-board ceilings and walls are notable architectural elements, as is the ceiling’s octagonal opening, used by Murray to keep an eye on the register while re-stocking the upstairs.


Murray & Mingus General Store - 1996




The store carries candies, crafts, games, postcards, quilts, flour from the mill, and much more








Operating Hours
January & February: Closed
March to December: Thursday - Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m; Sunday, 1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.


There is no cost to visit the Murray & Mingus General Store and view the outside of the mill.
Tours of the mill cost $3 per person self-guided and $4 per person guided tour (when available). 
(Phone) 828-241-4299


Genealogy Connection


Loftin Dr. in Catawba County, NC
Road sign near the original home sight of William Alexander Loftin

Callie Elma Loftin Huffman, daughter of Alonzo Lester Loftin and Ida Lillian Setzer - and granddaughter of William Alexander Loftin, recounted to her daughter Loretta how the family would load the horse-drawn wagon with corn & grain and would go to Murray's Mill to have it ground into meal.  Elma told Loretta that it would usually take all day.




Small Two-Story Murray House


10 May 2009


William "Billy" Ray Loftin (son of Sam William Loftin and Willie Aleen Goble , and grandson of Alonzo Lester Loftin and Ida Lillian Setzer) married Mattie Diane Self on 23 Dec 1961.  The first house that Billy Ray and Diane lived in after their marriage was the small two-story Murray house.  The downstairs part of the house contained a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, with a living room on the upper level.

Winter Wonderland

After midnight on  (Monday) Tuesday morning, 07 Jan 2014, the temperatures in Catawba County, NC, plummeted to 4 degrees Fahrenheit, with a wind-chill colder than that.  Needless to say, anywhere there was water, it froze.  It provided a nice winter display at Murray's Mill, too.

Ice on the pond, on the dam and wheel from 08 Jan 2014




The two-day February 12 & 13, 2014, snow storm deposited about 10 inches of snow



Annual Harvest Folk Festival

Make plans this year to attend the Annual Harvest Folk Festival held annually at Murray's Mill - on the last Saturday and Sunday of September.

Activities in the past have included: Molasses Making, Bee Keeping, Animal Exhibits, Petting Zoo, Gold Panning, Civil War Re-enactors, Apple Cider Making, Quilting, Blacksmith, Steam Engines, Farm Machinery, Corn Shucking & Corn Shelling, Butter & Apple Butter Making, Storytelling, Craftsmen selling their wares, Food & Drink, Catawba Valley Pottery, Catawba Valley Woodcarvers, John Murrray House open for tours, Murray & Minges General Store open, Murray’s Mill in operation and open to tour.
Savanna Seese with her mother, Beth Loftin Seese, enjoy the petting zoo at the Murray's Mill Harvest Festival  - 28 Sep 2001




Savanna is the granddaughter of Curtis Loftin & Carolyn Weeks Loftin
and the great-granddaughter of Sam Loftin & Willie Goble Loftin



The 2013 Harvest Festival at Murray's Mill was September 28 - 29 (Saturday & Sunday) and tickets were $5 each (children under 10 were free admittance).  Advanced tickets were available for purchase the week before the event at the Murray & Mingus Store.
The Murray’s Mill Harvest Folk Festival celebrates Catawba County’s agricultural heritage with an array of exhibits, craftsmen, and activities, including petting zoos, antique cars, tractors, farm machinery, and traditional food preparations such as molasses making.

Entrance to the Harvest Festival activities


Upon arrival guests were directed where to park 
Handicap parking was available - providing closer proximity to the entrance to the Harvest Festival.


Red Wolf Farm provided a pumpkin patch

Activities Included: Molasses Making, Bee Keeping, Animal Exhibits, Petting Zoo, Farrier, Gold Panning, Civil War Re-enactors, Apple Cider Making, Quilting, Blacksmith, Steam Engines, Farm Machinery, Corn Shucking & Corn Shelling, Butter & Apple Butter Making, Storytelling, Craftsmen selling their wares, Food & Drink, Catawba Valley Pottery, Catawba Valley Woodcarvers, John Murrray House open for tours, Murray & Minges General Store open, Murray’s Mill in operation and open to tour.

Children and even adults enjoyed the animals in the petting zoo
There was no cost to pet the animals but animal food could be purchased to feed the animals



Horseback riding was available for a fee



Horse-drawn wagon rides were also available


The Antique Car Show


The Antique Car Show was a favorite for most of the men - and a few ladies, too







To take a video look at the Antique Cars - CLICK HERE


The Antique Tractor Show


The brightly-colored tractors were fun to look at and were another favorite among the men



The 1948 Farmall Tractor with Turner Woodsaw - owned by Ben Elmore of Catawba, NC



The 1929 McCormick Deering Farmall Tractor displayed in memory of Emory & Jeanette Huffman
by Kevin and Jordan Isenhour, Claremont, NC



Another McCormick Farmall tractor


Additional old tractors and farm machinery


The Tractor Parade


To see part of the Tractor Parade, CLICK HERE




Marilyn Gabriel and several other ladies demonstrated how an old-fashioned quilt was made



Weaving Demonstration


Making old-fashioned lace



Civil War Re-Enactment


Preparing weapons at the Confederate camp


Cooking rabbit over an open fire


Hats, pouches, weapons, powder horns and other gear



Confederate troops work on drills



To See a Short VIdeo of the Soldiers - CLICK HERE - and - CLICK HERE

The Confederate campsite




Union Camp



Union Troop practice drills


To See Short Video of the Group, CLICK HERE


Carolyn Loftin (Mrs. Curtis Loftin) poses for a photo


Murray's Mill Weddings

Looking for a location for wedding?  Numerous weddings have taking place at Murray's Mill through the years.

Movies Filmed at Murray's Mill

Unknown to most people living in the Catawba County is the fact that parts of several movies have been filmed at Murray's Mill.


The 1991 film WILDFLOWER is the coming-of-age story of a deaf girl.  One day Sammy Perkins and his younger sister Ellie happen upon a cabin where Alice Guthrie, a young, partially deaf girl with epilepsy, is being kept by her abusive stepfather.  The three soon become friends and hope to get Alice an education and help her escape from the torture she undergoes daily.  Unfortunately, Alice's stepfather soon finds out about the friendship Alice has struck up with Sammy and Ellie and punishes her brutally.




***Beau Bridges: Jack Perkins
**Patricia Arquette: Alice Guthrie
William McNamara: Sammy Perkins
*Reese Witherspoon: Ellie Perkins
Susan Blakely: Ada Guthrie
Robert Priester: David Butler
Randy Williams: Cletus
* Reese Witherspoon is best known from her work in the films "Walk the Line" (2005) as June Carter, "Legally Blonde 1 & 2" (2001 & 2003) as Elle Woods, and in "Sweet Home Alabama" (2002). 
** Patricia Arguette is best known for her role as Allison Dubois in the TV Series "Medium" (2012-11) playing Allison DuBois, as well as her guest starring roles in "Law & Order: SVU" (2012) and "thirtysomething" (1990).
** Beau Bridges is best known for his roles in TV Series such as "Franklin & Bash" (2012) as Leonard Franklin, "White Collar" (2011/12) as Agent Kramer, "Brothers & Sisters" (2011) as Nick Brody, "My Name is Earl" (2007/08) as Carl Hickey, "Stargate SG-1" and "Stargate Atlantis" (2005-07) as Major General Hank Landry - as well as guest roles in older TV series like "Bonanza", "The Fugitive", "Gunsmoke", "Branded", "The F.B.I.", "My Three Sons", "Combat", "Dr. Kildare", "Rawhide" "Ben Casey", and "Wagon Train".  Beau also had a recurring role in "Sea Hunt" (1960-61).  Beau was the son of "Sea Hunt" star, Lloyd Bridges.
Scenes in the movie depict the dam in the background, the 3 young stars sitting on a metal walkway above the mill wheel, and an evening dance at the mill toward the end of the movie.

THE LOTTERY (1996) PG-13

On his deathbed in the hospital, Jason Smith's father asks that his ashes be spread over the top of his wife's grave in the family home town.  Jason, who came to the city with his father as a boy, remembers little of the town or his mother, but he undertakes the charge.  It is an idyllic place, but gradually snips of memory return, until he remembers the significance of the fact that most of the tombstones in the town cemetery, including his mothers, bear the same day and month, one death each year.




Dan Cortese: Jason Smith
*Keri Russell: Felice Dunbar
Veronica Cartwright: Maggie
Stephen Root: Graham Dunbar
**Sean Murray: Henry Watkins
William Daniels: Rev. Hutchinson
Morgan Sheppard: Mayor Warner
* Keri Russell is perhaps best known for her role in the 1998 TV series "Felicity" playing the lead character, Felicity Porter.  She has also had guest roles in other TV series such as: "Boy Meets World" (1993), "Married With Children" (1995), "Malibu Shores" (1996), "7th Heaven" (1997), "Roar" (1997), the mini-series "Into the West" (2005), "Scrubs" (2007), and most recently has a starring role in the TV Series "The Americans" (2013).  Her other film credits include: "Dark Skies" (2013) and "Mission Impossible III" (2006).
** Sean Murray is best known for his role as Special Agent Timothy McGee on the TV Series "NCIS".  Other prominent roles for Sean include "JAG" (1998-2001) playing Ensign Terry Guitry as well as the role of Thackery in the Disney film "Hocus Pocus" (1993).
Scenes from the movie depict characters Jason & Felice picnicking beside the lake, and his car being set on fire in front of the barn.  Also, the front of the Murray & Mingus Store is transformed into a gas station with a Post Office to the left side of the store and a fake garage to the right side of the store.
Both films, WILDFLOWER and THE LOTTERY, can be found on and


Catawba County Historical Association, Historic Murray's Mill

Thanks to Paul Loftin and Matthew Brotherton for the use of some of their photos for this page




If you have additional photos or information concerning Murray's Mill, please contact me