Photo of The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge.

5 Things You May Not Know About the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge

At 200 years old, the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge has stood through many historical moments. It is a popular destination for people who visit the Smoky Mountains, especially people who love history. We want to share some unique facts about the mill with you! Here are 5 things you may not know about the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge:

1. Grist Mill is Still Operational

old mill wheel in pigeon forgeIf you didn’t know, there are a few grist mills in the East Tennessee area other than the Old Mill. One of them is the John P. Cable mill in Cades Cove! However, not all of the mills that are still standing can still operate. The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge is still operational and is used every day. They grind wheat and corn for flour and corn meal. The water wheel on the exterior of the building uses hydropower to move the stones inside the mill to grind these products.

2. Product from Mill is Used

Since the mill is still used today, products created with it are used throughout Old Mill Square. Flour is used at the bakery to make homemade bread every day, including cinnamon raisin, olive, and sourdough. Cornmeal is used in the Old Mill Restaurant to make cornbread. The Old Forge Distillery uses grain from the mill to make their liquor, then the spent grain from the distillery goes back to the bakery.

3. Used in the Civil War

The Old Mill is an important part of Pigeon Forge history.The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge is actually on the Civil War Trail in Tennessee. A man named John Sevier Trotter owned the mill during the Civil War. Tennessee was the last state to succeed from the Union, and East Tennessee was split between the Union and the Confederate. Trotter was a Unionist and turned the second floor of the mill into a place where he produced Union uniforms with knitting looms. The third floor of the mill was used as a hospital.

4. Bridge and Water Wheel Have Been Replaced Twice

The water wheel and the bridge you see today aren’t the originals built over 200 years ago. In 1875, a flash flood came through and washed away the wheel and the bridge. The community came together to build a steel bridge. Then in 1920, there was another flood that destroyed the bridge built in 1875 and the wheel. They were replaced again, except the bridge was made of concrete and was a single lane. This bridge was widened in the 1960s to accommodate the influx of tourists.

5. Handmade Pottery is Used

pigeon river pottery old millIn 1946, a man named Douglas Ferguson realized how much red clay was in the area and opened a pottery store in a 100-year-old barn built by Trotter. He then built his home next door, which is now the Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and Grill. Ferguson died in 1999, and his studio was turned into Pigeon River Pottery. Today, the pottery made in the studio is used in the Pottery House Cafe.

Now you know a little bit more about the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge! You may be thinking about other things you can do when you stay in one of our cabins. Look at these other area attractions in Pigeon Forge you’ll want to try!