Scenic USA - North Carolina
|Photos by Amanda Haddox
Amanda Haddox Photography
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park, established in 1934, was one of the first national parks made up of private lands. Unchecked logging practices prompted Congress into saving this large tract of mountainous land which spans the North Carolina and Tennessee border.
Mingus Mill, pictured here, is found nearby the southern park entrance from U.S. Route 441 and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The old mill is one of the many 19th century structures preserved by the National Park Service. The mill, built in 1886 by John Mingus, remains at its original location on Mingus Creek. This old mill, the largest in the Smokies, is missing a classic feature (the overshot water-wheel). A closer inspection reveals its power was generated from an advanced cast-iron turbine. Generating 11 horesepower, the turbine produced enough power to run all the mill's machinery.
The Mingus Mill site is surrounded by a broadleaf forest, predominantly made up of beech, yellow birch and maples. Beginning around mid October, a mix of hardwoods put on a extra special show. Autumn brings out a steady stream of sightseers and leaf-peepers, so if you're joining in the fun, come early and bring an extra pocketful of patience.
Another collection of historic park buildings are gathered together at Mountain Farm Museum, also found near the Oconaluftee Center. Here at the museum, visitors are offered a close-up look at some of the park's late 1800s structures, including a barn, farm home, spring and apple house, and a working blacksmith shop.
Additional Area Attractions
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