Georgia Travel Articles
Lee and Gordon's Mills
by Jeff Carlock
Nestled among the tall, stately oaks that once saw the bloodshed of the Battle of Chickamauga is one of North Georgia’s well-known sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. This 1836 structure beside the creek in Chickamauga, Georgia, located in the upper northwest corner of the state, had once been the busy site of a stagecoach stop, general store, blacksmith shop, and according to old timers’ gossip, a distillery.
Despite fires, flood, and the Civil War, Frank Pierce, now deceased, restored the mill in 1998. This restoration took several men 8 to 10 hours a day, five days a week for a period of six years. The restoration stayed true to the history of the mill with 35 foot timbers with notch, peg, and mortise construction. The 18-inch stone in the middle of the mill was acquired from the Smithsonian Institute, and the turbine powered ceiling fans in the general store came from a train depot in San Francisco from about the same time period as the mill. The original dam once had a covered bridge over it in 1890, but the restored dam remains a marvel in its 70-foot-long, and 9-foot-high beauty.
Today, the mill is open to the public, from Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. for a nominal charge of $2. Visitors can see where General Bragg housed his soldiers for the first few days of the Battle of Chickamauga in September of 1863. Bragg then moved his headquarters to Lafayette, located about fifteen miles south of Chickamauga. Then on September 19th and 20th of the battle, General Crittendon used the mill as his headquarters to keep the Confederates from crossing the Chickamauga Creek. Crittendon forced the mill operator to grind corn for the Union soldiers.
The mill then changed hands again as General Leonidas Polk used it for his headquarters. Visitors can also see where the soldiers had inscribed their names in the closet doors and can see several lead boxes that hold lead shrapnel used in the Civil War cannons along with other artifacts. The mill had the only general store in the area in the 1800’s, and visitors today can be taken back in time as they rock on the porch with an "ol’ timey" coke in bottles and a famous moon pie from the Chattanooga area as they listen to the water fall over the dam. Before leaving, a bag of meal or grits purchased in a cloth bag will be the perfect souvenir.
There is one more site on the property that visitors must see. An Antique Tractor Museum featuring several tractors from the early 1900’s, along with a variety of farming implements will teach visitors about the area’s agricultural past. Included are Fordson tractors from the 1920’s, John Deere, Case, Farmall, Oliver, Avery, Ford, David Bradley, Massey Harris, and Allis Chalmers. Also, you will find an 1897 grain wagon, stationary engine, many small tools, and a variety of signs from the early to mid 1900’s.
There are facilities on the site for all types of gatherings where many people can meet for reunions, clubs, or beautiful out door weddings. Several special events are planned for the upcoming year, which include the following: May 6, 2006-Antique Tractor Show; May 27, 2006 - Craft Fair; July 1, 2006 - Antique Car Show; Sept. 2, 2006 - Blue Grass Festival, May 5, 2207 – Antique Tractor Show, May 26, 2007 – Craft Fair, and other events not yet scheduled. The mill is now leased by the City of Chickamauga with co-managers Jeff Carlock and Jim Hornaday. Other attractions in the area include the Gordon-Lee Mansion, Crawfish Spring, the old Cove Methodist Church, not to mention the historical site of Chickamauga Battlefields and nearby Chattanooga, Tennessee, tourist attractions. Contact Jeff Carlock by email at www.carlockbj@Comcast.net or call 706-375-3299 for more information.
Thanks to the following special "friends of the mill": John Culpepper, Terry Bowman, Michael Wallace, Richard Barclift, Benny Bridges, Lebron Henry, and The Chickamauga Antique Club.
Provided by American Roads Travel Magazine - Visit American Roads Travel Magazine website.
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