The Hyer-Knowles planing mill was one of many lumber mills and factories constructed in Pensacola and vicinity prior to the Civil War. The bricks used in this chimney, for example, were produced by a local brick kiln operated by James Gonzales, part of a huge local brick industry required for the construction of coastal forts such as Fort Pickens (over 21 million bricks were used for this fort alone).
The large chimney is symbolic of the fact that this was a steam-powered mill, a technology that supplanted earlier water-powered industries that thrived earlier at places such as Arcadia Mill.
In March of 1862 Confederate forces under General Braxton Bragg abandoned Pensacola. On order of Confederate Secretary of State Judah P. Benjamin, General Bragg in turn ordered the destruction of the mills in Pensacola so they could not be used by the United States forces that would soon occupy this town. The machinery of the Hyer-Knowles mill is reported to have been removed and placed on barges in Pensacola Bay, and the mill buildings burned. The barges carrying the machinery sank during a storm before they could be moved up river.
Admission to chimney park is free.
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