Escape the Grind at North Little Rock’s Old Mill

April 28th, 2014 by Corey A. Edwards

North Little Rock's Old MillIf you’ve ever seen “Gone With The Wind,” you’ve seen North Little Rock’s Old Mill but, unless you’ve visited, you’ve not really seen it.

The brainchild of developer Justin Matthews, North Little Rock’s Old Mill, also known as “Pugh’s Mill,” was built in 1933 in T.R. Pugh Memorial Park as a replica of an old, water-powered grist mill, dedicated to the memory of Arkansas’s pioneers.

Architect Frank Carmean designed the basics of the Old Mill, with the rest fleshed out by artist and sculptor Dionico Rodriguez. Using mainly concrete over steel and copper rods, Rodriguez simulated wood, stone, and steel, all fashioned to make the building appear abandoned and decrepit: doors missing, equipment in disrepair, a leaking flume still driving a semi-intact water wheel.

Other details from Rodriguez include, rustic seats, mushrooms, tree stumps, and an intricate and entwining footbridge made to look like a black locust tree fallen over a stream and connecting the mill to the rest of T.R. Pugh Memorial Park.

Although much of the structure and outlying details were fabricated by Rodriguez, portions were historically sourced. The grist mill on the first floor, for example, dates back to 1828. Some of the mill rocks on the second floor are from the plantation of Tom Knoble, the grandfather of Tom Pugh, namesake of the park. Two milestones are from a road laid out more than 150 years ago by Jefferson Davis and three sections of the wrought-iron shaft in the mill were pulled from the stern wheel of an 1800’s, Arkansas, passenger steamboat.

North Little Rock’s Old Mill is a wonderful place to visit. The park’s paths winding through the foliage of the landscaping and the beautiful artistry of the Old Mill itself are very much worth seeing. Stop by for a picnic or take a guided tour (for groups of ten or more). You’ll be happy you did.

Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, North Little Rock’s Old Mill was most famously used in the opening scenes of “Gone With The Wind” and is believed to be the only structure still standing from the film.

North Little Rock’s Old Mill

3800 Lakeshore Dr.
Lakshore Dr. and Fairway Ave.
North Little Rock, AR 72116

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