Prater's Mill managed to survive 155 years, but the most recent danger came not from floods or fires as in the past but from powderpost beetles, a tiny, wood-chomping pest.
"Left on their own, I think the beetles would eat forever," said Judy Alderman, president of the Prater's Mill Foundation. "They were in all the wood that didn't have a finish."
The foundation and Whitfield County officials are crediting a North Georgia pest control company and a pesticide maker for stepping in to save the building from severe damage.
Last week, Enviroguard Pest Solutions donated labor and Ensystex Corp. donated the chemicals to treat the infestation.
The bugs had chewed into about 30 percent of the building. That presented a perilous problem for the Varnell, Ga., historic site, which dates back to 1855.