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The Old Mill Water Wheel

David Owens

Plainfield, United States

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Artist's Description

Almost two centuries ago, the Mill began serving the communities of Sevier County, Tennessee from the banks of The Little Pigeon River, providing much needed meal and flour to the early settlers there. It still does. Originally, Pigeon Forge was named for the passenger pigeons that frequented the area when it was settled in the late 1790’s.

In 1820, Isaac Love established an iron forge as the community’s first business. The name Pigeon Forge is a combination of the iron forge and the Little Pigeon River. In 1830, Isaac’s son William, dammed up the Little Pigeon and began construction of the first building of what has become the Old Mill. He used 40-ft long, "14×14" Yellow Poplar logs which are still clearly visible today.

Huge river rocks have served to support the Old Mill during all these years. In the early days the mill was the heart of the community and served as a gathering spot for the villagers. It is still such an attraction today, not only for Pigeon Forge, but also for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park area itself.

Today, The Old Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and just as in the 19th century, it’s still one of the most popular places in the Smokies and one of the most photographed mills in the country. Ten million plus yearly visitors pass through Pigeon Forge.

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