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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Series: Freeman's Mill Park

I'm always looking for fun places to take David to run, play, get some sunshine and exercise. A few months ago my friend Isabella shared photos on Facebook of a picnic she and her family took at a beautiful pond with a waterfall.  I started looking online to find out more and learned it was just a few minutes farther than the parks we regularly go to! We've been to this hidden gem of a park three times so far, and we'll be visiting again soon.  It's so wonderful, I just had to share! 

The following information is from 

This park along the banks of the Alcovy River includes a unique playground that replicates a gristmill, picnic pavilion, half-mile multi-purpose trail, parking and restroom facilities as well as the historic Freeman’s grist mill.
The mill was built sometime between 1868 and 1879 by brothers John Griffin Loveless and Levi J. Loveless. In 1913 W. Scott Freeman and his son, Winfield, owned it until it was purchased in 1915 by Newt Pharr. Winfield descendants continued to operate the mill through the twentieth century. In the late 1990’s the mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in architecture, engineering, industry, and social history. As of 1996, the mill was the only working grist mill remaining in Gwinnett County.
Freeman’s Mill played an important role in the local community in early Gwinnett County. Local farmers would bring their wheat and corn to the miller to be turned into flour and meal. Alcova Baptist Church, located up the street from the mill, used the mill pond for baptisms and the millhouse itself, provided a gathering place for the surrounding rural community. The water powered grist mill was preferred by many farmers because it would grind the corn more slowly than electric mills, resulting in a sweeter taste.
The mill changed hands several times over the years until Gwinnett County purchased the mill and surrounding property in 2002 with funding available from the Georgia Greenspace Program and the 2005 SPLOST. In 2009, the county raised and restored the mill and surrounding 12 acres for educational and recreational use offering Gwinnett County citizens a sense of the agricultural past.

Here is the Mill:  (you can get there by following the sidewalk from the parking lot down to your left and you'll see it on your right, or follow the trail by the playground through the woods and you'll end up here, as well)
Now, some shots of the pond/waterfall/beach, which is is located just past the Mill through the woods and on your left.  If you come on the trail by the playground, the pond area is before the mill on your right. 

This is the hill looking back up from the bottom - you have to navigate this, roots and all, to get down to the next level where I am standing to take this.  From here, you have another big (to me - I'm 5' tall) step down to the beach.  So if you have any issues with walking, etc. this will probably be a hard area of the park to access.  (The playground and trail are much better for accessibility!)

David and his buddy Seth

It is posted no swimming or wading, but the kids did wade in the water.   There were others doing the same.  I wouldn't let my kiddo go under water though - too murky and lots of rocks!

The playground is near the 1/2 mile path that winds back through the woods to the Mill.   The restrooms are by the parking area, and there is also a water fountain.  If you want to picnic, there is a covered pavilion by the playground.  Lots of benches too!  

It's a nice, quiet, out-of-the way park that has never been crowded when we've visited. But very easy to find - it's just a few minutes off of Highway 316, which is off I-85 in Gwinnett.   If you are in the metro Atlanta area, this is worth the drive to play and explore for an afternoon!  Bring a picnic lunch, buckets and shovels for the beach area by the pond, and towels if you plan to wade.  Then get busy making special memories!    

Freeman's Mill Park is located at 1401 Alcovy Road, Lawrenceville, GA 30045. Hours are sunrise to sunset. 

Have you been here yet?  Share your favorite park in the metro Atlanta area in the comments below! 


  1. This looks like a great park. I love that playground!

  2. Love these places and ideas. I need to take the kids for some fun filled days!

  3. Gosh, this looks like a really fun park. I love the Mill. Your photos are great.

  4. This was a great field trip to make with 8th graders learning about GA history. Lots of other things to do when they're done too.

  5. Looks like a fun park! I'll have to check it out!!! :)

  6. A Gwinnett park we haven't been to?! I just added it to our Outside Fun list!


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