Once upon a time there were two boys who lived in the woods. Each day after school they would play in Nickajack Creek until nearly dark. They fished. They climbed trees. They watched trains go by. When exploring in the woods one day they happened to find the ruins of an old cotton mill. This became a new place to play.
Life was idyllic… until a few dirty politicians decided to steal their house and build a road through it, lining their own pockets in the process.
The boys in the story, of course, are me and my brother. We lived on Concord Road near a one lane bridge that led to the Concord Covered Bridge. The Bridge, originally built in the 1840’s and destroyed during the Civil War, is still in use today and home to the famous “waterhead babies.”
The ruins we discovered, quite by accident at the time, were of an old woolen mill. It was built in the late 1840’s and destroyed (sense a trend?) by the Union Army in 1864 at the Battle of Ruff’s Mill. (Read much more about the mill’s history.) The steel support structures weren’t there when we played in the ruins but the site appears much the same. If you leave the path and search in the woods a bit more you can find the remains of a chimney or two along with a root cellar and a well.
After taking the family through the ruins we walked along Nickajack creek and towards Ruff’s Mill and the Covered Bridge. Emma and Henry had a ball, of course, tossing sticks and rocks in the the creek as we made our way back to the parking lot… where our house had once been.