Wednesday, June 17, 2020

A New (to Me) Old Mill

The Crosseyed Cricket Mill
Roane County, Tennessee. c. 1850

As I mentioned in my previous post, this past weekend featured a big family gathering at the home of my son Don in Knoxville, Tennessee to celebrate the graduation of his son, Devlin, from high school. To relieve the congestion of aunts, uncles, and cousins from as far away as Indiana stuffing every nook and cranny of Don’s and Kim’s spacious home, Louise and I hooked our little travel trailer to our truck and made arrangements (actually, we made the arrangements well in advance) to camp at the TVA campground at Melton Hill Dam on the Clinch River just west of Knoxville. The campground is in a very lovely setting, but campers are limited to three-week stays.

Since one of the things we hope to do after our house is sold is buy a larger trailer or a motor home, with a view to being able to spend several weeks or even months at selected locations (such as Florida in the winter and Knoxville in the spring), we decided to go looking for a campground suitable for an extended stay in the Knoxville area.

On U.S. Highway 321 just outside the Melton Hill TVA area, we noticed a sign on a side road advertising “The Crosseyed Cricket Campground.” It was only four miles, so off we went for a look. The office was closed and we couldn’t find anyone to talk to, but we drove around the property enough to see that it would be a pleasant place for an extended stay, and reasonably close to our Knoxville family.

Near the entrance to the campground, I noticed a very old, weathered, two-story, clapboard building, but did not give it my full attention because I was looking for the campground office. But as we were leaving, Louise said, “David, that’s an old mill!” And so it was. As those who have read much of this blog will know, that's the kind of thing I'm always looking for. As I wrote in the introduction to my book Backroads and Byways of Georgia, I'm drawn to the old, the historic, the quirky and offbeat, the strange and unusual, and the beautiful. Old houses, old churches, old courthouses, old mills, covered bridges and historic sites. 

The building on the right was once a restaurant.

I found a place to park and naturally, made some photographs. From an elderly gentleman in a nearby house, I learned that the mill is actually on the campground property and is maintained by the owners. From one of the old mill web sites that I have bookmarked I learned that the mill is the Crosseyed Cricket Mill, built on Cheney Creek around 1850. It’s on Paw Paw Plains Road in Roane County, Tennessee.

The overshot wheel is in good shape and
has apparently been recently repaired.

The day was heavily overcast, which is usually better for photographing such scenes because it reduces the contrast and avoids the dark shadows and washed out highlights of sunny days. The camera was my lovely Fuji X-H1 with the surprisingly sharp 16-50mm f3.5-5.6 lens. ISO was set to 3200 because of the overcast and because the X-H1 handles such speeds effortlessly.

(Photographs copyright David B. Jenkins 2020)

Soli Gloria Deo
To the glory of God alone

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