Tour a Piece of History – The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge
Things were a bit different in Pigeon Forge in the 1800s. The early settlers relied on a water-powered mill to grind out their flours and meals in order to feed their families. In the case of the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, it fed families as well as supplied electricity in the 1930s. It is now and was then the “hub” of happenings in Pigeon Forge. It has also served as a post office, knitting mill, mattress manufacturer and place for the farm community to come together and socialize during its very early days.
In other words, The Old Mill at 164 Old Mill Avenue still stands as a proud landmark. Though its purpose has changed somewhat, the inhabitants of Pigeon Forge have lovingly preserved it as part of the Great Smoky Mountain heritage.
Now, it’s the most photographed mill in the U.S., is on the National Register of Historic Places and touring it is a fascinating step back in time. You’ll get to see how millers actually used the mill over 170 years ago and they’ll let you in on the history of how it was constructed and why it was so important to the community. Tickets are only $3 and you can pick them up the in The Mill’s General Store. The tour lasts about 30 minutes and your guide will give you some recipes to take home with you!
The grand waterwheel, along the Pigeon River, still spins steadily and has a complex system of belts and pulleys, still used today to make some of the mill’s products that are sold to locals and visitors. In addition, many of the homestyle cooking you’ll be served at the Old Mill’s restaurants are the result of the waterwheel, grinding out flours and meals to make biscuits, corn bread, artisans breads and more, much like they did over more than a century ago. Note the door-it’s original, and the marks and nicks in it are from notices being tacked up long ago, from war declarations to births deaths and any other community communication, the door is a testament to the settlers’ lives.
The General Store
The General Store is adjacent to the Mill. You’ll want to stop here to buy up grains, grits, jams, jellies and so much more. Get more than a few-the shopkeepers are happy to help you choose the perfect items to make up a Smoky Mountain gift basket for someone special. The atmosphere is wonderful and the staff is as friendly as they come.
Pigeon River Pottery
Stop by and watch artisans at their potter’s wheel making works of art just as they did 50 years ago. You’ll find one-of-a-kind pottery and sculptures with a Smoky Mountain flair.
Eating & Drinking
Eat homestyle cooking right next to the mill at The Old Mill Restaurant. It has views of the Pigeon River and the grand watermill. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For a bit fancier fare, try the Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille across the street where you can dine inside or out. Both places serve up amazing desserts!
The Old Forge Distillery is a large barn that’s been converted into a distillery, also right next door to the Mill. Pick up some spirits (including premium whiskey) and moonshine here, made just like the settlers made them. Only four years young, it produces award-winning spirits, plus their gift shop has some very cool swag that will show everyone you were there.
While there, stop in some of the Old Mill specialty shops that have homemade sweets, candies, breads, cakes, pies and even jewelry.
There’s special events throughout the year at the Old Mill such as Holiday Open House and Thanksgiving Dinner specials. Santa even makes a stop during December at the Grille.
The Old Mill has over a million visitors every year and you’ll love the family-friendly environment while learning about Pigeon Forge’s rich history. Visit the Old Mill online for more info.
Pigeon Forge Cabin Rentals
Condo-World has several luxury cabins conveniently located close to The Old Mill and other attractions in Pigeon Forge. Book yours online today!