Wednesday, July 30, 2014

At the Base of the Smokies: Mingus Mill

When we first began exploring the Carolinas, grist mills weren't on the list of outdoor destinations worthy of a visit. They were small, dull, and took less than ten minutes to see. I've since come to appreciate the importance of mills to early settlements, particularly in isolated areas, and the effort to preserve these historic structures.

I'm sure such efforts have little to do with the fact that mills can produce some mighty fine grits.

Yates Mill Copyright KBuffaloe
In the past, we've visited Hagood Mill in Pickens Co, SC; Old Mill in Pigeon Forge; Yates Mill in Raleigh, SC, and Suber's Corn Mill in Greer, SC.

For our trip to Cherokee, we had two specific goals in mind. The first was Mingus Mill.

Mingus Mill is located two miles north of Cherokee and just north of the Oconaluftee Visitors Center. Built in 1886, the mill provided crucial wheat and cornmeal to those dwelling in the isolated mountain settlement. It eventually fell into disrepair, but the park system saved the structure in the 1960s. You won't find the wheel typically associated with such mills here. Instead, water flows to the mill through a flue, and corn and wheat are ground by a water-powered turbine.

Turbine: : an engine that has a part with blades that are caused to spin by pressure from water, steam, or air*

Mingus Mill Copyright KBuffaloe

Mingus Mill Copyright KBuffaloe
The mill is attended during its summer operating hours, and wheat and meal ground on the premises are available for sale. It's a quick stop, but a nice peek into the past.


*www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/turbine?show=0&t=1406742998

6 comments:

Ane Mulligan said...

Hubs would love these, being an artist. I've been looking for a weekend jaunt for us. I think this is it. Thanks, Kimberli!

Kimberli McKay Buffaloe said...

It's so beautiful and you get such a feeling of disconnect there, you'll love it. While you're there, you can also visit beautiful Mingo Falls (only 150 steps to climb, but the trail is short after that) and waterfalls in the Deep Creek area. All are easy access, and I plan to cover them in upcoming post.

Happy Trails!

Debra said...

Beautiful photos, Kimberli. Lovely site as well.

kathyinozarks said...

I always enjoyed those mills and the cornmeal is just the best

Kimberli McKay Buffaloe said...

Thanks, Debra and Kathy. I had heard of this mill, but I had no idea it was still in operation, even as a park service.

Kathy, so true. I hated grits until I tasted fresh-ground. Now I can't get enough of them.

Kimberli McKay Buffaloe said...

Ice Age Hack, I received your comment. Thanks for the heads up about the browser issue. This is a Blogger blog, so to my knowledge, I have no control over settings that might fix compatibility. I think it's an IE issue. I have issues trying to write posts using that browser, so I try to avoid it when possible.

Thanks for stopping by!

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