A nearby historic marker notes that Shoals was first called Lexington and the site of what was likely the first woolen mill and iron foundry in Georgia. In 1794, Colonel William Bird (1757-1812), a Pennsylvania Revolutionary veteran, and Benjamin A. Hamp bought several thousand acres of land including the shoals of the Ogeechee River, a natural site for a dam, where they built the mill. Upon Colonel Bird’s death in 1812, his heirs sold the property to Thomas Cheely, who built a grist mill for grinding wheat and corn. This, with the woolen mill, was burned by Sherman’s forces in 1864. In later years there have been grist mills and ginneries at the site operated by the Coleman family who own most of the original Bird property.
General Store, Shoals