Porterdale Mill on the Yellow River
NAMED for: Oliver S. Porter, Mill Owner



November 3, 2003

I’m so glad to hear from you!  I was born in Porterdale and grew up there.  My maternal grandparents were Charles and Moselle Haggard and my parents are Herman and Gladys Kerbow.  Like everyone else who had the same experience of growing up there, Porterdale holds a special place in my heart.  Fifteen years ago, my husband and I moved back to Porterdale and purchased the former Osprey Mill Superintendent’s house (yellow house next door to the Village Inn Hotel on the river side).  We have lovingly restored it and it along with the Porter House it has now been on the Tour of Homes which has helped to bring attention to Porterdale.  

Five years ago I became so disenchanted with the turn of events in Porterdale that I did a lot of research on how to turn things around and as a result, I developed a ten-year revitalization plan for Porterdale.  I called the plan, “Let’s Sweep It Clean!”.  Do you remember the time when people had no grass in their yards but because we all had such pride in our little piece of Porterdale that we would sweep our dirt yards?  I thought the name would show the contrast of what Porterdale had once been and what it had become!  “Let’s Sweep It Clean!” is a three point program.  The objective is to sweep Porterdale clean physically, politically, and spiritually. 

The plan has been a great success.  We have enlisted other volunteers who have helped us paint the homes of some of our elderly, and indigent homeowners, we now have an after school tutorial program, during the holidays, we sponsor “Caroling in the Village” where we all gather and go caroling to the homes of our elderly and shut-ins, a group has been successful in having Porterdale placed on the National Registry of Historical Places, and through the help of Newton County’s Keep Covington and Newton Beautiful office, we have been able to make free recycled paint available to homeowners.  We have sponsored “Clean it Up Saturdays” where volunteers have gone throughout the village cleaning up yards as well as public areas.  In 2000, the Georgia Dept. of Community Affairs presented us with the first place award for having developed the Best Community Improvement and Beautification Program in the state of Georgia!  This award was earned by every volunteer who has helped us to make a difference in Porterdale!  All this publicity has helped us to get the attention of developers.  There is so much more to tell you, but the crux of my program centered on the revitalization of our downtown area beginning with the conversion of the old Porterdale Mill on the river to lofts with retail space and restaurants.  The mill has been sold and work has now begun on the mill project.  This will be a $14 to $20 million project!  We now have a city government who has caught the vision and is now working on the revitalization process.  Thanks to a generous contribution from the Arnold Fund, a downtown riverside park will be developed. 

As you may know, the historical Newton County Courthouse was just recently renovated and a group of us from all over the county are working together on a time capsule that will be encapsulated there.  I was asked to come up with something from Porterdale that would show what is happening there now… thus the reunion!  I have written the history of the mill and an update on what it will become.  On Sat., Nov 15th, we will gather at the mill at 2:00 p.m. where photos will be taken of everyone who attends!  The pictures along with the information I have prepared will be included in the time capsule. 

It will be an exciting day!  There will be a program, which will include the developers of the project who will be on hand with plans and artist renderings to show their vision for the mill’s redevelopment as well as speakers who have a history in Porterdale.  We are hoping for a good turnout of people who love Porterdale!  Refreshments will be served.  Some of the restored homes in Porterdale will also be hosting an Open House so that you can see the amazing transformation and the possibilities of these former mill homes.  Please bring old pictures and come reacquaint yourself with our hometown. 

I hope you can be there.  Please help us to get the word out to others.   

Thanks for your inquiry! 

Kay Kerbow-Piper


Porterdale revitalized… Catch the vision!