Our History

Summers Mill Retreat and Conference center has been built on a rich history. When it was founded in 1998 by Paul and Jane Meyer, they wanted "this place to be a ministry and to lead with a servant’s heart based on Christian values and principles." 


The name of our retreat center goes back to the grist mill built by John Myers in the spring of 1866. Business was good and within a year, he added a saw mill and a cotton gin. When John Myers died, it passed in rapid succession through the hands of Robert A. Myers, Douglas McKenzie, and D.C. Summers. Summers installed a crossroads store and secured a post office under the name of Summers Mill.


A Place to Connect

In 1902, J.R. Holland bought Summers Mill and began operating the mill, a general store, and the post office. The community had about 50 people, three churches, and a school. J.R. Holland built the “Big House,” today known as Vintage Oaks across from the gates of the retreat center. He also had a 70-acre pecan grove. His property was known as a Bell County showplace, where they hosted many picnics, camp meetings, baptisms, family reunions, and gatherings of people from all around the Central Texas area. Later, a school house, community center, blacksmith, and a doctor’s office was built, and the population was growing. J.R. Holland died in 1912, and is buried in a private cemetery near Vintage Oaks.


From an Ostrich Farm to a Christian Retreat

In 1987, Paul and Jane Meyer bought Summers Mill and property across FM 1123. Paul Meyer then turned the property across FM 1123 into an ostrich farm, Chisholm Trail Ostrich Farm, a new and fast-growing business venture. Our now Conference Center was used for incubating the ostrich eggs, and once they hatched, they moved over to what is now Big Bird Lodge. The ostrich farm business began to go downhill, but Paul knew they loved Summers Mill, and wanted to turn it into something great. 


Over the last 20 years, thousands of guests have enjoyed this tranquil and peaceful setting.


We hope that when you spend time at Summers Mill Retreat and Conference Center that you will be able to get away from the busyness of life, connect with God and others, and renew your mind and soul. We want "this place to be a ministry" to you and your group.


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