The area was first settled by the Cherokee and Creek Indians. As a small group of white settlers migrated to Big Haynes Creek, the settlement grew to include the first school, a gristmill, a sawmill, a planing mill, and a cotton gin. This area became known as Rockdale County and Costley’s Mill. The name came from the owner, James Luther Thomas Costley.
The mill survived General William Sherman’s March to the Sea during the Civil War. It burned in 1901, was rebuilt in 1904, and burned a final time in 1973. This was a tragic close to an era that began in the early 19th century.
Syl and Beverly Bowman purchased Costley Mill in May 1982. The Bowmans had a vision of the beauty it could be. They 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.