How My Gone With The Wind Obsession Led Me To The Old Mill in North Little Rock Arkansas

When I first saw the Old Mill, I have to admit, I didn’t remember the derelict shape or the rustic colour or the lush backdrop. I didn’t have even the vaguest sense of familiarity. But I could hear whispers from locals and a few, well-informed tourists that this secret garden was in Gone With the Wind. The movie? I thought. Really? It couldn’t be.

Old Mill in Little Rock Arkansas _ Water Wheel

So at night, when it was too dark to go outside, I sat back in the hotel bed and rewatched the film. All of it. The Old Mill in Arkansas was only in the intro for all of six seconds (yes, I counted. But I assure you, this was purely in the name of – ahem – research). I couldn’t understand why. Don’t get me wrong, I like Rhett Butler and Vivien Leigh as much as the next person, but the mill deserved more screen time. In fact, it deserves to be the backdrop of a feature-length fairy tale. I’m calling Disney right now. Hmmm…what should I pitch? Snow White? No, we’ve been there and done that. Sleeping Beauty? Goodness, Disney’s even made a live-action version.

I know…Rumplestiltskin. And that is what we are doing today – strolling casually through the oversized doll’s house that is the Old Mill at T.R. Pugh Memorial Park, pretending to live in a happy-ending version of Grimm’s classic fairy tale.

Just look at this place! Look at the trees and flowers flirting, waltzing in the open landscape, their daily gossips drowned by the wind. Can you imagine what they’ve seen? And that has to be where the Princess turns straw into gold (or tries too).

Old Mill in Little Rock Arkansas _ View

Water is steadily sliding – its gentle flow masking the light whir of a churning wheel. Suddenly, the golden spools of straw are gone, picked up by the King, and she is left with dark interiors and an abysmal emptiness (oh Rumplestiltskin, where are you?). Where art thou?

Can you imagine, years later, when Rumplestiltskin must have swaggered out from the trees, victory dancing in that little pocket, right over there, because he doesn’t think the Queen will guess his name (Can you blame him though? This park just begs early celebrations).

Then he must have trotted up to this quaint beauty.

Old Mill in Little Rock Arkansas _ Side Mill

And how can that building not make you smile? The bright exteriors are washed in an orange sunlit glow. It is perfect. Let’s just take a moment to see how lucky the miller’s daughter and Rumplestiltskin are. I mean, this is scenic.

We’re so elated that we have to skip and ever-so-gracefully (yeah, right) plod along broken branches. The Old Mill might be tucked in a winding neighborhood, but it looks like an offshoot of a King’s palace. This park sets the standards for all neighborhood parks and raises it up to the height of the Empire State building. We could frolic here all morning. We race up along the moistened steps of an arch that appears to be etched into natural sun-dried natural branches. But the branches aren’t branches at all. The entanglement is the artistic recreation of an artist from Mexico City – Dionicio Rodriguez. And the best part? His medium of choice was cement. Yes, the “natural” bridge is cement.

Old Mill in Little Rock Arkansas _ Bridge

The mill looks like it belongs in the 1800s, but it was built in the 1930s. Every aspect of its facade and landscape is fiction intertwined with pockets of wholesome reality (re-creations set amongst thickets of trees and flowers). But isn’t that how all fairy tales are constructed?

Eventually, we’re going to have to take a break. Let’s sit over there! Headphones in. Romantic Song on. Yes, this is the fairytale life.


  • Maria Berneiser Haase
    August 22, 2016 at 2:42 PM

    Rumpelstilzchen used to freak me out as a kid, but I absolutely agree, this would be the perfect backdrop for the movie. Makes me miss Germany.

    • Anshula
      August 22, 2016 at 3:13 PM

      All of the Grimm’s fairy tales freaked me out – especially the Little Mermaid. ? But luckily Disney gives stories with creepy endings more amicable ones. ?

  • Aly
    August 22, 2016 at 7:19 PM

    That natural bridge is incredible! This looks like such a beautiful place to explore.

  • Kayvona B.
    August 22, 2016 at 11:03 PM

    Ok I can totally see this as a set for Rumpel lol I love the show Once Upon A Time, pitch them! They could totally use this!! Haha

    • Anshula
      August 23, 2016 at 11:38 PM

      I will!! ? xx – Anshula

  • MegOhKay
    August 23, 2016 at 2:13 AM

    A dream for the princess-at-hear-woman! I dream about refinishing a property/structure like this someday. Maybe when I win the lottery… 🙂

    • Anshula
      August 23, 2016 at 11:41 PM

      That is such an awesome goal! Best of luck with the lottery! ? xx – Anshula

  • Brianna Wronko
    August 23, 2016 at 3:12 PM

    I love the old brickwork on the houses!

  • dramrita
    August 23, 2016 at 3:35 PM

    My sister lived in Germany for several years .She used to describe such fairy tale houses.It’s beautiful and you wrote about it magically

    • Anshula
      August 23, 2016 at 11:39 PM

      Awww…thank you so much! ☺️

  • Jasmine
    August 24, 2016 at 7:27 AM

    Wow.. It sounds like a beautiful place to visit and especially that natural bridge is incredible!

  • Andrea Gonzales Diede
    September 4, 2016 at 3:14 PM

    I love special finds like this! ❤


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