Green Mill

Historical Marker #906 marks the spot of the Green Sawmill in the small town of Falls of Rough.

Willis Green II was born in Virginia, was a member of the Whig Party, and was a district campaign manager for Henry Clay when Clay ran for president. Green moved to Kentucky as a surveyor to locate land warrants for various people in the late 1700s, purchasing the land at the Falls of Rough (which was named in 1850) in 1821. He built a new sawmill and gristmill, as well as a new dam, in 1823. The mill was constructed around a frame building with stone burrs, with the horizontal gears hand carved from white hickory. The vertical gears were steel.

In 1855, Green’s nephew, Lafayette Green, continued operating the mill and built a new stone dam. Lafayette’s sons, Willis, Preston, and Robert, formed the Green Brothers company, which expanded the operation to six thousand acres of land. With the arrival of the Elizabethtown and Paducah Railroad in 1891, the mill reached its height as the Greens shipped cattle, hogs, poultry, Shetland ponies, cotton and lumber on the trains. At this point, too, Green Mill employed nearly two hundred people – almost the entire town of Falls of Rough. The meal ground there was quite famous and was sold under the name “Grayson Lily” and “White Rose.”

In the 1930s, operations at the mill began to decline as the timber had been depleted. Jennie Green, the Green Brothers’ sister, assumed control of the land after her brothers passed away (Preston was the last brother to pass away in 1946). The land was then passed to cousins from Texas and is privately owned. Although the mill ended operations in 1965, the building, community general store, and manor house are still standing. The manor house is currently a bed and breakfast.