Gratis is an unincorporated crossroads community in rural Walton County, Georgia in the U.S. The small community is located between the cities of Monroe and Winder. The community's main intersection is at Gratis and Mt. Vernon Rds. intersection.
The economy of Gratis exists predominantly off of commuting distances with the nearby cities of Monroe and Winder. Along with some limited agriculture and livestock there is a single outlet/filling station in the community, locally referred to as “The Gratis Store”.
My Father John Lewis Sims, Sr. worked at the Gratis Store during the 1922 time period as a store clerk and garage attendant. Mr. Kilgore was the store owner at this time. In an earlier time, near by was the Sims Mill powered by a water pond. Most likely the mill ground corn and wheat for corn meal and flour. Near the pond was the site of an earlier Creek Indian encampment. my knowledge of this site was memories of our father taking Dr. Rutherford Clark Sims and Myself John Sims to the site to look for arrow heads and large Quartz crystals. At the time of the visit the original dam of the pond was still in existence and remnants of the dam as a water source still remained. The Dam was constructed of dirt with a flood gate. The gate was structured by driving two post into each side of the dam and placing stacked boards between the post to control the water flow into the mill. This would have been in the early 1940s.
The sole church or religious facility in Gratis is Center Hill Baptist Church, which burned down during the 1950s and was rebuilt.
Gratis's educational system is run by the Walton County Board of Education. The schools in the local district are Monroe Elementary, Carver Middle School, and Monroe Area High School. Residents also have the choice of three small private schools, George Walton Academy, Loganville Christian Academy, and Faith Academy.
Every Fourth-of-July Independence Day, 'The Gratis Store' hosts a pyrotechnic fireworks display event using funds raised by the outlet charging a five-dollar parking fee for vehicles. These events have witnessed significant turnouts from the local region's population for the past several seasons.