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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Hurricane Mills, TN since the 2010 Flood

Hurricane Mills, TN

This is the mill of Hurricane Mills. Today, this area is much better known as being part of the Loretta Lynn Dude Ranch, one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state.

This mill, and other historic spots nearby are on the National Register of Historic Places listed as the "Hurricane Mills Rural Historic District." According to a plaque across the river from the mill, this mill and dam were built by James T. Anderson in 1896. "Though wool was carded here, grain processing predominated, corn meal and flour were shipped through the south."

In the mid 60's, Loretta and Mooney Lynn purchased the 1876 mansion across the street from the river. Over the next few years, they preserved many of the nearby buildings and commercially opened the area as the dude ranch. Today, you can take a tour of the area, or just walk around some of the places, like I did. The mill's water wheel was removed and placed nearby.

Today, the mill serves two purposes. First, it is one of three gift shops on the ranch. Second, it is opened as the "Loretta Lynn Doll and Fan Museum"

Unfortunately, the Middle Tennessee May floods were not kind to Hurricane Mills. Just a few feet downstream from the mill, there was an iron bridge built in 1911 that used to carry highway TN13 (but had been replaced by a newer bridge) was completely washed away. I can't find any confirmation of this, but I suspect the mill suffered much damage as well as it looks like the exterior is almost completely rebuilt with new wood. (If you find any pre-flood picture, the mill is painted a deep red.) The area was closed for a couple of months after the flood and just reopened July 3.

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