In 2012, a year-long restoration project took place to get the Grist Mill running again after sitting idle for over 74 years. What was determined was that the mill has her quirks... she can't be rushed. You have to ease up to full speed if you want her to keep her belt on. She lets you know she is the boss and with each turn of the grinding stones, she teaches you something new.
The Grist Mill needed a deep cleaning and greasing. Hickory nuts were found in the Mill, for which the answer to "why" is still unanswered. One exterior log to the Inn was replaced and Sevierville Co-op repaired the belt. The inner workings of the mill had to be shored up and put into working order. These workings are in the basement of the Inn.
The grain is poured into the hopper, which is held in place by the saddle. Grain is then dropped into a shovel-like part that shakes the grain onto the stones. There are two stones which grind the corn: the grinding stone, approximately 18" thick, is the top stone and rotates. This mill's grinding stone is unique in that it turns counterclockwise. The stone is sealed with plaster, the reason for which is unknown. The dead stone is the bottom stone, approximately 4-5" thick, and is stationary. This dead stone is not sealed. The stones should never grind against each other; and, if taken good care of, will last forever.
Both stones weigh approximately 2,000 pounds each and were brought over from England as ship ballast. The stones are over 180 years old.
A hoist/lift was designed by a welder to raise the grinding stone for cleaning and access the dead stone to re-level when needed. The holes in the grinding stone are used to raise the stone.
The ground grain goes down the metal spout into a bucket. Grain is then sifted to remove all un-ground pieces of corn.
As the grinding stone was unable to rotate, repairs to the flume were made, and a pump installed, to force creek water over the top.
The Miller's payment: he would push finished grain into the miller's ring which is a 3" space located between the outer ring and the stone.