Eighteen students from Emory University joined volunteers from the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy to clean up the collapsed mill on Lower Mill Road in Hixson on Saturday. Volunteers cut back vegetation around the remaining pillars, recovered wood and other items for future use, and burned the remaining debris. In addition to cleaning up the mill site, volunteers cleared a parcel of NCCC property across Lower Mill Road as a future campsite and cut trails to the creek’s edge.
The effort was part of the larger “Clean and Green” community cleanup effort sponsored by the Friends of Hixson. Volunteer Emory, a student group from Emory University, made the workday part of their Fall Break trip to Chattanooga, during which they volunteered at several sites throughout the area, including the Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center.
Originally known as Rodger's Mill, the mill was built in 1905. Its wheel was underneath the building, instead of along the creek side. When TVA dammed the river in the 1940s, the changes in the water level of the Chickamauga Creek made the wheelhouse inoperable because of the placement of the wheel. Elizabeth Flanigan donated the property to the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy in late 2011. Shortly afterwards, due to years of decline, the mill structure collapsed into the creek.
The North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy plans to use the land for preservation purposes, as well as creating an access point to the creek for paddlers. “We are excited to do anything that introduces the community to the North Chickamauga Creek,” said Rob Ellis, president of the North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy.
The North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy is a citizen-created nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides a structured, dedicated framework for constructive, pro-active citizen involvement and support in conserving the significant natural, historic, and cultural resources located within and near the watershed area of North Chickamauga Creek. NCCC's work is supported through a combination of grants from local and national foundations and contributions and volunteer services from supportive individuals, companies, and organizations. NCCC pursues its initiatives through the work of its committees and also works in partnership with other organizations and governmental entities to accomplish common conservation goals.