The Old Mill

"The Old Mill"

Kate Matthews photograph of The Old Mill as it looked during the “Little Colonel” era
Kate Matthews Collection, Photographic Archives, Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville 

The Old Mill was mentioned in several of the Little Colonel books. Its biggest role in the stories was as the setting for a picnic and game of charades in The Little Colonel's House Party, published in 1900. The except below is from Chapter IX, "Her Sacred Promise  

"Miss Allison had invited them all to a picnic at the old mill on the following day. They were to go in the afternoon and come back by moonlight. It was not quite four o'clock when Mrs. Sherman stepped into the carriage at the door, followed by Eliot with an armful of wraps, which might be needed later in the evening. Every spare inch of the carriage was packed with things for the picnic. A huge lunch hamper stood on the front seat beside the coachman, and he could scarcely find room for his feet for the big freezer of ice-cream that took up so much space. Rugs, cushions, and camp-stools were tucked in at every corner, and Mrs. Sherman held Joyce's mandolin in her lap. . .
It was a devious way to the ruins of the old stone mill --- down unfrequented roads, through meadow gates and over a narrow pasture lot, then up a little hill and into a cool beech woods, where the peace of the summer reigned unbroken. Piloted by Lloyd they reached the place just as Mrs. Sherman drove in from the opposite side of the woods.

The vacant windows of the old mill seemed staring in surprise at the gay party gathering on the hill above it, although it should have been accustomed to all kinds of picnics by this time, considering the number of generations it had watched them come and go. Nobody could tell how long it had been since the mill wheel turned its last round and the miller ground his last grist, but if the stones could babble secrets like the little spring, trickling down the rocky bank, they would have had many an interesting tale to tell of all that had happened in their hearing.

There were many names and initials carved in the bark of the old beech-trees. Malcolm found his father's and mother's on one, as he wandered around with Eugenia, and set to work to cut his own underneath. Eugenia seated herself on a rock near by, to watch him. Keith and Rob, and the other boys who had been invited to the picnic, busied themselves by dragging up sticks and logs for a big bonfire. The girls began a game of  "I spy" behind the great rock where the columbines clambered in the spring, and spread their blossoms like butterflies poised on an airy stem.

What's left of the Old Mill is shown in the pictures on this page.  Piers and large stones are all that mark this once-popular picnic spot for the residents of Lloydsboro (Pewee) Valley. The ruins are located on a stream at the end of -- surprisingly enough -- Old Mill Road off Rollington. Neighbors who live near the ruins believe the mill was originally associated with a farmhouse that still stands on the north side of Rollington between the bridge at Houston Lane and Westport Road, before the Forest Springs North subdivision begins.

looking downstream at where the mill stood

Remnants of the Old Mill, Pewee Valley, KY

heavy rains have washed away many of the foundation stones over the past two years

possible footer remnants

Old Mill Road is off Rollington between 
Central Avenue and Houston Lane

Page by Donna Russell