Located on the south bank of Fall Creek, the Gristmill is home to an expansive game hall and two conference rooms. Most of the Gristmill, like the Main Lodge, is considered a public facility – that is, one that is open to all guests of the resort. And like the Main Lodge, it also possesses a rich and textured history.
History of the Mill
Few other states boast as many gristmills as Tennessee. While the property at Evins Mill has been home to several mills since James Lockhart built his in 1824, Edgar Evins built the current mill in 1939 – late by milling standards. Some suggest that Evins built it in conjunction with an emerging business in Lebanon called Martha White, later acquired by the Pillsbury Company.
As many mills were built in the 19th century, the Gristmill is one of the most modern in the state. Older mills typically feature wooden water wheels, yet Evins commissioned a steel wheel forged in Pennsylvania. And while older mills often feature wood construction, Evins built his with concrete block. Another modern feature was its millstone technology. Older mills usually feature horizontally rotating millstones for grinding, but Evins employed vertically rotating stones.
The Gristmill was unique in other ways. While most mills are only partially water-powered, the Gristmill was one of only a handful in the state that was exclusively water-powered. Generators in its basement suggest the Gristmill actually produced electricity at one time.
The dam that Evins built to the northwest of the Gristmill has three gates. The mud gate is located in the "pillbox" at the base of the dam. Opening it would drain a good portion of the pond. The flood gate is located further up on the dam. Opening it relieves pressure from the spillway during heavy rains. Finally, the fluse gate allowed water into the flume, which in turn powered the wheel and so the machinery inside.
The most unique aspect of the Gristmill today is its use as a conference center, housing the Davidson & Knox Rooms, named for Davidson and Knox Counties. Not all business, on its first floor is Cortland Hall, a large game space named for the son of long-time Plant Manager Gary Wince.
Davidson Room, large meeting room/changing room
Knox Room, small meeting room/changing room
full audio-visual capacity
wireless DSL internet access
tables & chairs set-up in a variety of configurations
living room seating and satellite television (Davidson Room only)