DPA centerpiece makes cross-state trip
Posted: Thursday, July 8, 2010 9:06 pm
Special Features Editor
Three thousand pounds of hard granite from North Carolina went into the stones for the grist mill that originally saw service in Virginia around the turn of the 19th century. Those stones came to a new home in Union City recently. The mill was moved to Sevierville a few years ago and had been in service there when it was located by volunteers on the Discovery Park of America Yesteryear Farm and Village Committee. Wilbur Brewer and Bill Austin, the intrepid searchers, get credit for the major find.
Brewer and DPA project manager Jim Carmichael brought the grist mill home and will be working to restore it, once the ground work is completed at the DPA site. A 15-foot water wheel, a 12-foot “big” wheel or cog gear, a 2-to-3-foot cog gear, an 8-foot cog gear, a spindled cage gear, a pair of 30-inch grinding stones, a pyramid-shaped grain hopper, a “skirt” to surround the stones, a “scoop” to carry the corn from the first to the second floor of the mill, a grain lifter, a grain shute, shafts, pulleys and belts were all part of the grist mill that was transported.
Brewer has since built a scale model of the mill that will take shape at DPA. The scale will enable those in charge of the project, who will be working with DPA’s landscape architect, to make sure everything will fit properly. In addition, it will provide clues on the height needed for the plume or water trough to feed water to the top of the wheel.
The timber-framed structure to house the mill will most likely be constructed of cypress with a wood-shingled roof. The post and beam structure — mortised and tenoned — will stand two stories high and will be held together with wooden pegs. A log building would not withstand the vibrations.
The timbers will be purchased, cut and cured in storage for a few months before mortises and tenons are cut into them and they are ready for assembly.
Published in The Messenger 7.8.10