Renovation of a 1913 mule barn on the University of Georgia Griffin campus is complete, with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting today celebrating its new purpose as the Dundee Cafe.
Made possible by a $1 million gift from the Dundee Community Association, the cafe will serve students, employees and visitors as well as keep the memory of Dundee Mills and the historic mule barn alive through historical photos and exhibits.
“The University of Georgia is tremendously grateful to the Dundee Mills Community Association for this generous gift, which has allowed us to create a vibrant hub on the Griffin campus and further strengthen the connections between UGA-Griffin and the surrounding community,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.
The mule barn was constructed in 1913 after the previous structure burned to the ground following a lightning strike. The replacement barn was constructed using the slip form concrete method to demonstrate what was then a new construction technique.
During the same time period, across the street from the campus, Dundee Mills produced towels and other textiles. It was the area’s largest employer for nearly a century, when Griffin was known as a textile town.
Today, the interior walls of the 105-year-old mule barn still bare traces of that time: the names of the mules written above the pegs that held their bridles, crop weight calculations written by those long since gone and animal tracks left in the concrete floors. Historical photos and other items from the campus and Dundee Mills will be on display to educate cafe visitors and preserve history.
“As the oldest structure on campus, the mule barn represents a part of Georgia Experiment Station and University of Georgia history that will be preserved and cherished, thanks to the generosity of the Dundee Community Association,” said Lew Hunnicutt, assistant provost and UGA-Griffin campus director.
The Dundee Community Association was founded in the 1940s by Dundee Mills to benefit its employees and the local community. Through the years, the association has provided scholarships and benevolence to Dundee Mills and Springs Industries employees and made significant annual contributions to many Spalding County charitable organizations.
“The Dundee Community Association has been known for its dedication to supporting and enhancing the quality of life of the mill’s employees, their families and the greater Spalding County community,” said Tom Gardner, chairman of the Dundee Community Association. “The naming of the Dundee Cafe accomplishes another goal of the association, which is to assure that Dundee Mills and the textile industry, in general, will be recognized in perpetuity for the many benefits that they provided to the communities in which they operated facilities.”
For more about UGA-Griffin, go to www.griffin.uga.edu/.