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Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cherokee, NC

As soon as we finished our visit to Clingman's Dome we headed back to the campground. But it was still early in the afternoon and we still had some energy left so we decided to drive just past the campground and sneak in a visit to Mingus Mill. This mill was built in 1886 and what sets in apart from the other mills in the area is that it used a water powered turbine to operate all of the machinery inside of the mill and not the typical water wheel. The mill primarily was used to grind corn into flour, which they sell inside of the mill.

Sadly we didn't get to see this mill in operation because it suffered a broken part. The mill person told us they were able to get the part fixed but lacked the funds to get it installed. We have been hearing a lot of stories like that lately, NO FUNDS to do anything. I didn't mention it before but when we visited the iconic Mabry Mill on the Blue Ridge Parkway last month it too was not fully operational. The flume which carries the water down the mountain and up to the water wheel was missing several large sections. Rather than restore it, a pump was installed to transport water directly to the top of wheel to make it operate, bypassing the flume altogether.

While there is no entrance fee charged to get into Great Smoky Mountains National Park, they do get more than 12 million visitors every year. That is more visitors than the next three most visited National Parks combined. You may recognize their names, Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone. Great Smoky Mountains National Park has ten developed campgrounds with a combined total of more than a 1000 campsites, they have to generate a positive income. The park recorded more than 250,000 paid nights of camping in 2014 and I imagine those numbers are only going up, considering how hard it was to get a reservation in any of the three campgrounds we stayed at. And let's not forget the four big visitor centers and their gift shops. There must be some surplus of money somewhere to properly maintain this park!

Anyway, enough of that! We still had a very interesting visit to Mingus Mill and here are the photos we took during our visit, enjoy!


Approaching the mill from the trail that begins in the parking area
The sunny side of the mill
This is the stone wheel the turbine in the basement would spin to grind the corn
These two pieces would stack on top of the stone wheel
Other first floor photos
Second floor photos
The final product gets delivered here and is bagged for sale
Here is where water gets diverted from Mingus Creek
It begins it's journey down to the mill
Water approaching the mill's turbine
The flume from a side view
Since the mill isn't operational the water must be diverted before it reaches the turbine
Access to the gate that aborts the water entering the turbine


Option 1 - Do nothing and cycle through the photos at the predetermined speed.

Option 2 - Hover over any photo with the cursor and use the forward and reverse arrows that appear on the left and right centers to speed through the photos. Photos will still change at the predetermined speed if you wait too long. Keep your eye on the clock in the upper right hand corner.

Option 3 - Hover over any photo with the cursor and click on the pause button. You now have full control to go forward or reverse at your own speed. You can also select any of the little round buttons under the photo to navigate through the photos.


1st - Click near the center of any photo and it will open to a larger size than what appears in the slideshow.
2nd - Click on it again and it will open to it's original full resolution size.
3rd - You will have to use your browsers back button to return to the slideshow after viewing the photo.

Want to read more and see more stunning photos (not ours) of Mingus Mill?
Check out the link below!

Until next time

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