The Old Mill, a replica of a nineteenth-century water-powered grist mill, was the vision of North Little Rock developer Justin Matthews Sr. (see PU55) and one of the main attractions of the T. R. Pugh Memorial Park. The mill, built to appear as if it had been abandoned, lacks doors and windows. Matthews, whose company was responsible for much of the development in the Park Hill district, built the mill as a memorial to Arkansas pioneers. Although the mill building itself is constructed of stone, the surrounding site is enriched with the faux bois (false wood) art of Mexican artist Dionicio Rodriguez. These concrete objects range from tree trunks to toadstools, benches, and footbridges with railings of entwined tree branches, and all appear as if built of wood. Rodriguez was so meticulous that the species of trees used as models in his work can be identified. Frank Carmean, Matthews’s architect on many of his development projects, is credited with hiring Rodriguez.
The Old Mill had a cameo appearance in the opening scene of David Selznick’s 1937 movie classic Gone with the Wind. The property was given to the City of North Little Rock in 1976, and today the mill and surrounding park are maintained and landscaped by the Pulaski County Master Gardeners and North Little Rock Parks and Recreation Department.