Waterwheel connects past and present

In 1916, a massive flood washed away a gristmill on what is now the site of the Hickory Nut Forest Eco-Community in Gerton. Members of the community dreamed of transforming the old stone foundation into a modern hydro-electric power system and their efforts have come to fruition.

Several members of the group traveled to the Piedmont in 2008 to take down two 1840s log cabins. They carefully labeled each part and reassembled them at the foundation of the gristmill. The waterwheel is now functioning and the community has plans to fulfill all of its energy needs with the wheel.

The public is invited to see for itself at The Big Splash on Saturday, Aug. 18 from 1-5 p.m. There will be tours of the micro-hydro system, along with organic food and a chance to play in Hickory Nut Creek. The open house is part of ECO’s Green Home tour, as Laughing Waters is one of the featured green homes.

It’s free to tour the waterwheel, enjoy some food and frolic in the river. Info and directions: Hickory Nut Forest Eco-Community.


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