The old mill of Pigeon forge
Updated: Aug 17, 2022
William Love, the son of Isaac Love built the Lewis mill in 1830 named after his grandfather. The mill not only made grain but also housed the post office, where William was appointed postmaster. He would officially name the community “Pigeon forge” after the passenger pigeons that lived in the area in 1841.
In 1859 John Sevier Trotter became the mill’s second owner and constructed a saw mill. Using the lumber from his new saw mill, he built a bridge crossing the river known as Trotter’s Ford.
In 1861, Tennessee became the last state to secede to the confederacy during the civil war, and as such it was deeply divided. John Trotter was a union supporter, and so he set up a secret loom on the mill’s second floor to provide uniforms for the union soldiers of Gatlinburg. Like many of the old civil war buildings, the third floor was converted into a hospital to house the injured during battle, as many skirmishes took place in the mountains.
Unfortunately in 1875, Trotter’s bridge would be destroyed by a flash flood as well as washing the water wheel down the river. The mill would survive for 50 more years until 1929, when the great depression hit hard, the mill was forced to shut down and was given to the bank of Sevierville. In 1933 it was purchased by the Stout family who would own it for 62 years.
In 1993, the Cornflour Restaurant opened next to the mill, and it would use the mill’s products in its food, until 1995 when the Stouts decide to retire, selling the mill to the owners of the restaurant, officially uniting the two and renaming the establishment into the “Old Mill Restaurant” which is still running today.