North Little Rock offers timeless photo opportunities

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeff Walston
  • 913th Airlift Group
For those who enjoy taking photos and touring historic sites or relics, North Little Rock, Arkansas, has a beautiful area perfect for just those activities.

Located at the corner of Lakeshore Drive and Fairway Avenue in T.R. Pugh Memorial Park, The Old Mill offers photo opportunities and timeless relaxation for all.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Old Mill, is a historic re-creation of an 1880's water-powered grist mill, so perfect, it was featured in the opening scenes of the 1939 movie "Gone with the Wind."

The Old Mill provides a glimpse of history for visitors to the park, and a great photo backdrop.

Completed in 1933, the mill, was designed to appear abandoned. The absence of doors or windows made it appear as if it was the victim of thieves or deterioration, as old mills of the 1800s had actually become by the 1930s.

The general layout of the reproduction does not reflect any particular mill design, but mimics mills in early Arkansas. However, the design was changed to suit the landscape of the local area.

The Old Mill was given to the City of North Little Rock as a gift by the former Justin Matthews Company on May 24, 1976, to be part of a comprehensive system of recreational lakes and open spaces in the Lakewood residential area.

There are many actual historic relics at the mill, including the grist mill itself on the first floor that dates back to 1828.

Mill rocks on the second floor came from the plantation of Tom Knoble, the grandfather of Tom Pugh, in whose honor the mill is dedicated.

Three sections of a wrought iron shaft were cut from the stern wheel of a passenger steamboat which traveled the Arkansas River in the 1800s.

The Old Mill was also the site of the unveiling of the “Gone with the Wind” commemorative stamp.

The site is maintained by small groups of volunteers dedicated to preserving and enhancing the park to keep the 70-year-old "abandoned" mill looking abandoned, but amazingly beautiful.

For those who have just moved to the area, or the Reserve Airman with spare time on a Unit Training Assembly weekend, this free public attraction is worth taking a look at.