One of Columbia’s most celebrated landmarks, the Allen Brothers Milling Company has been recognized by its most enduring icon: a red fluorescent sign advertising its staple product—Adluh Flour—and the likeness of a girl that adorns its products. Nestled within the heart of the Congaree Vista, the family run milling company in the early twenty first century remains as a tangible link to the days in which the land between the State House and the Congaree River was associated with light industry and warehouses. As it has for generations, the mill continues to produce cornmeal, mixes, feed, and breeders in addition to what the South Carolina Department of Agriculture has declared “South Carolina’s State Flour.” Allen Brothers Milling Company has prided itself on the fact that its products are manufactured almost exclusively from yellow corn and wheat from South Carolina and white corn grown in the state and in Tennessee.
B. R. Crooner and family began operating the milling company about 1900. In 1920 the business merged with J. H. Hardin’s Columbia Grain and Provision Company. Not long thereafter, the business faced foreclosure and First National Bank assumed the property’s operation. The Allen family of Wadesboro, North Carolina, millers since the 1800s, purchased the mill in 1926 and have remained the owners ever since. During World War II, Allen Brothers was one of forty two mills operating within the state. By 2003 only two remained: Columbia’s Adluh Flour Mill and Greenwood Roller Mills in Greenwood.
Much of Allen Brothers’ longevity is attributed to the quality of its “table tested” products. For years the company has offered tours of its historical property, which stands as the “third oldest continually operating, electrically powered, soft wheat mill in the United States.”
Gordon, Kay. “Adluh: History in the Baking.” Columbia State, January 26, 1995, pp. D1, D8.