The old South isn't completely gone with the wind in North Little Rock. A short drive from McCain mall will bring you to a quiet, tranquil place that looks like something from an old movie. As a matter of fact, it was featured in the opening scene of Gone With the Wind. It's believed to be the only remaining structure from that film. So, put on your hoop squirt, grab your parasol and your "twiddly dee dee" attitude and come for a visit.
Where and When:
The Old Mill is in the Lakewood area on Lakeshore drive. Take McCain Boulevard East and you'll see Lakeshore which has signs pointing you to the Mill. Admission to the Mill is free and visitors may tour at their own pace. It is open from dawn until dusk.
Arkansans use the Old Mill, also known as Pugh's Old Mill, for many outdoor activities. On a nice spring day, you're bound to find people picnicking, children laying in the grass or playing in the water and perhaps even weddings or photo shoots. Many people choose the Old Mill as a place to say their nuptials and many schools around North Little Rock have their school photos taken there. Who needs a fake backdrop when you have true Southern heritage behind you?
The Old Mill is not actually as old as it appears. In 1933, Justin Matthews contracted for the construction of a replica of an old-water-powered grist mill. He did not set out to copy any preexisting mill, but instead chose to design something that would fit with the contour of the area. He wanted the mill to appear as if it belonged in Arkansas and had been here since the 1800s. The Mill is intended to appear neglected, just as old mills that were in service in the early 1800's had become by the 1930's.
The park is decorated with sculptures of toadstools, tree stumps, and a tree branch-entwined bridge that connects the mill to the rest of the park. Senor Dionico Rodriguez, a sculptor and artist of Mexico City, was responsible for all the details of each piece of concrete work made to represent wood, iron or stone, as well as the designing of the foot bridges and rustic seats. During the summer of 1991, Rodriguez's work at the Old Mill was renovated by the great-nephew of the original artist, Carlos Cortes.
The Old Mill was nationally recognized in 1986 by being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.