Our next stop was Mingus Mill, which sits in the Oconaluftee Valley in the North Carolina portion of the national park. The mill was at the top of my list of places to visit in the Smokies, and I was eager to see it in person. Mingus Mill is an old mill, built over three months in 1886. It only cost $600 to build, and operated until the National Park took it over in 1934. It was restored in 1937, but closed during World War II. The mill reopened in 1968, and you can still go inside to see how it works and buy grain and corn and whatnot.
What makes the mill unique is that it uses a turbine, and not a water wheel. Water from the creek is diverted, and then travels along a moss-coated canal.
The water is then channeled into a 200 foot long wooden flume that carries it to the mill like an aqueduct. Closer to the mill, excess water pours off in a waterfall. It’s a really neat spot, and we spent a long time there taking pictures.