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Rogers Mill gains new life

Owners Mario and Raven Rodgers beside the beautifully restored mill. Photo by PJ Martin

By PJ Martin


The Herald-News


When Mario and Raven Rodgers first saw the property at 1199 Wilbur Glass Road, Summer Shade, they knew they had found their home. Mario said that he feels, “this is where I am supposed to be.”

The spacious property includes a beautiful multi-story log home along with a very special piece of history, Rogers Mill.

The mill is nestled in a breathtakingly beautiful valley with cool clear water flowing down from 40 feet above where it exits a cave system. The valley is the very definition of tranquility.

When they purchased the property, the mill had not been fitted with electricity or plumbing. Mario took great care to install plumbing affording a historically compatible bathroom and a kitchen. He also installed wiring for lights and appliances. The inside of the historic grist mill has been carefully preserved and houses pieces of milling equipment such as the belt-driven wooden mill wheel.

The stream running down the hillside is actually what powered the mill in the past and still does. Mario explained that the large wooden water wheel had inevitably fallen into disrepair. So to correct that problem, he has spent the last year welding and fitting metal to construct an all-metal water wheel.

The new metal water wheel constructed by Mario runs very smoothly as the water falls from the wooden flume above. The photos do not do justice to the beauty of the mill. Photo by PJ Martin

The water wheel system is referred to as an overshot. The water is channeled to the wheel at the top through a flume located slightly beyond the axle. Water fills the bucket sections of the wheel and moves it downward and dumps the water underneath back into the channel.

Although the mill is open for events such as family reunions, weddings, and receptions by appointment, Mario and Raven’s ultimate goal is to open a school to teach herbal medicinal plant usage.

Raven has been a Registered Nurse for over 20 years, but she is also a Master Herbalist. She explained that the area has, “many plants that can be used for medicinal purposes.”

At the cookout held by the couple on June 18th, she explained to members of the chamber, historical society, and guests that in our daily lives we are “exposed to chemicals in the air, water, food, and medicine.”

Although medications have been created for treating illnesses, the earth was the original medicine cabinet for Native Americans and early pioneers and Raven has studied these earth-given medicinal plants for many years.

The restored mill and the beautiful grounds would be greatly enhanced by a school teaching herbal use and many in attendance look forward to that dream becoming a reality.

The mill and the grounds are available by appointment only. You can contact Mario and Raven Rodgers at 270-590-1370 or by email at

A beautiful clear stream runs down the hillside and past the mill. The foot bridge can be used to cross the stream or by crossing the road. Notice that mill stones are used to hold the torches at the sides of the entrance. Photo by PJ Martin

The sink in the antique-style bathroom is made from Mario’s blacksmith table. Photo by PJ Martin

This stone grinding bowl sits on the porch of the mill. Before grist mills, grain was ground by hand for flour. Photo by PJ Martin

Inside the mill, these large belts are powered by the water wheel which then supplies the power to run the milling machinery. Historically, the wheel powered the turning of large milling stones to grind the grain. Photo by PJ Martin

History of Cave Mill (Rogers Mill)

From the book Metcalfe County-Our History in Pictures

By the Metcalfe County Historical Society


On the headwaters of Fallen Timber Creek, Boss Bowling erected one of the first mills in the community, known s Cave Mill.

The mill was located at the head of a hidden valley and was designed to take advantage of water flowing from a cave about forty feet above the valley floor.

Corn was likely ground on this spot in the days of the earliest settlers due to remaining foundation stones suggesting more than one mill had stood at this location.

After Boss Bowling, known millers were Nate Slinker, Mike Jennings, Jerome Jennings, Sy Grider, Jep Nunnally, Bob Watson, Jack Guinn, Charlie Miller, Addie Miller, ? Hoover, Lewis Barnett, Roscoe Free, Hestand Wright, Henry Perkins, and Jess Brown.

The information that is known about the mill comes from personal memories of those who lived in the Hickory College area at the time of its existence.

The grist mill was no longer in operation in 1935.

Rogers Mill Cave is a lengthy stretch of the cave approximately 40 feet above the mill. This photo shows only a section of the map which notes details within the cave. Photo by PJ Martin

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