Major repairs are needed for a more than 230-year-old historic landmark in the town of Rogersville.
The Amis Mill Dam sits on the former property of Tennessee statesman, Thomas Amis. He used the land to build a wilderness outpost for Revolutionary War troops.
After decades of wear and tear, along with record rainfall earlier this year, the dam is in need of an overhaul.
Jake Jacobs and his wife Wendy bought the property in 2008 and both noticed the dam had issues with water leaking through seams in the original concrete. Wendy Jacobs is a descendant of Thomas Amis.
“It is the most significant Revolutionary site in Tennessee,” said Jake, caretaker Amis Mills.
Jacobs is now leading the charge to restore this historical landmark.
“More Revolutionary soldiers came through and spent time here and then moved on than any other place in Tennessee,” he said.
At first, the dam looks just fine, but the problem requires a closer look.
“This area to my right,” said Jacobs, “where you see the water gushing out, that’s actually coming from the footing of the dam.”
Water is eroding the foundation of the dam and shooting through grout points.
It is also displacing some of the stones in the dam’s third column.
“This spring when we had the serious rain, we lost more of the stones,” said Jacobs, “in fact you can see some of the stones from that scattered around here in the creek.”
The flume is also having issues.
“So these things need to be repaired or this area will be probably the first to collapse.”
It’s a job that will cost more $150,000 according to Kleinschmidt, the South Carolina engineering firm which surveyed the damage.
The firm gave three recommendations.
“We can actually just go back and patch the cracks, or we can put another small dam up against it,” said Jacobs, “or the one I like the best, we can blow some shotcrete on the upstream face and that seals all the cracks, plus it will give you a protection.”
The Jacobs’ property is privately owned.
Since the dam is on that property, state and local agencies are not helping with the cost.
With Jacobs’ main income coming from the eatery overlooking the dam, he said the cost is going to be hard to cover.
Now he’s hoping for community support, so others can continue to enjoy one of Tennessee’s most historic sites.
“I’ve been here with my momma and poppa for a couple of days,” said Bentley Caldwell, who was at the dam Friday fishing with his grandpa Kevin.
“It’s very relaxing,” said Kevin Caldwell, “hearing the waterfall in the background and it’s very beautiful as well.”
Jacobs hopes people will contact the state government to let them know about the dam’s need for preservation.