The Remarkable History of the Pigeon Forge Mill
The Pigeon Forge Mill is one of the most popular historic sites in Sevier County, Tennessee. Commonly known as the Old Mill, this 19th century gristmill has become an iconic part of Pigeon Forge and is featured on the National Register of Historic Places.
Isaac Love and Pigeon Forge
The Pigeon Forge Mill was built by Isaac Love and his sons in 1830. Love was already an important figure in East Tennessee history, because he constructed the iron forge from which Pigeon Forge takes its name. Erected next to Love’s famous forge, the Old Mill ground grain for farmers in the community. Unfortunately for Love, his iron business never turned a profit, so in 1841, he sold the forge and the mill to Alexander Preston.
A Union Mill in the Confederacy
When the Civil War broke out in 1861, the mill and the furnace were owned and operated by Tennessee businessman John Sevier Trotter. Although Tennessee joined the Confederacy, East Tennessee was bitterly opposed to secession, and even tried to form its own pro-Union state. Like many East Tennesseans, Trotter supported the Union, so he set up looms in the Pigeon Forge Mill to weave cloth for Union army uniforms. Clothed in a uniform manufactured at the mill, Trotter’s son William volunteered for the Union army and commanded a company at the Battle of Fort Sanders in 1863.
Following the war, the Pigeon Forge Mill was outfitted with a 60 rpm, 30 horsepower wooden wheel and a new sawmill. The Trotter family shutdown and sold the iron forge in 1865, and in 1900 the mill was bought by A.T. Householder. Throughout the 20th century the Pigeon Forge Mill continued to produce meals and flours, and the mill even provided electricity for Pigeon Forge until 1935.
Remarkably, the Pigeon Forge Mill is still in use today. Visitors to the Old Mill Restaurant can enjoy muffins, pancakes, corn bread, grits, hush puppies and biscuits made with flour and meal milled on site. Products made from authentic Pigeon Forge Mill ingredients are also sold at The Old Mill & General Store, The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille and The Old Mill Farmhouse Kitchen.
If you are planning a visit to the Pigeon Forge Mill or one of its associated restaurants, take care of your lodging needs with the Cherokee Lodge condominiums. The Cherokee Lodge offers luxury condos in Pigeon Forge with stunning views of the Smoky Mountains, a beautiful swimming pool, and a top notch workout and exercise center. Give us a call at 877-918-5900 to book a condo for your next Pigeon Forge adventure!