Scenic USA - Arkansas

T.R. Pugh Memorial Park

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The Old Mill, T.R. Pugh Memorial Park - North Little Rock, Arkansas

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography

   Pugh Memorial Park, dedicated in 1933, features a replica of an old abandoned water-powered grist mill. Seen in the opening credits of the 1939 film classic "Gone with the Wind", the old mill continues to draw thousands of visitors every year. Built as a memorial to friend and business partner Thomas R. Pugh, developer Justin Matthews intended the reproduction to appear as an old forgotten mill in a secluded valley. Authentic milling equipment, used for three generations in Pope County, is displayed on the first floor. Second floor mill stones and the mill's cornerstone came from the plantation of Thomas Pugh's grandfather, Thomas Knoble.
   The memorial park, located in North Little Rock, was designed by Frank Carmean. Working for Matthews as a builder-architect, Carmean discovered T.R. Pugh Memorial Park Faux Bois Sculptures Senor Dionicio Rodriguez on a southwestern architectural tour. Hailing from Toluca, near Mexico City, sculptor and artist Rodriguez is responsible for the unique trees, foot bridges, railings and rustic seats designed as faux bois sculptures. Calling his style "rustico", the concrete pieces are so detailed one can recognize the species of trees depicted in the artwork. Rodriguez, using ordinary kitchen utensiles and working out of the trunk of his car, was so secretive about his methods no one was able to copy his work.
   The park property was given to the City of North Little Rock in 1976. Extremely picturesque, the park is a favorite for engagement photos, family portraits, springtime photography and hold as many as 200 weddings a year. Friends of the Old Mill, a volunteer organization, helps with maintenance and improvements to the park.

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