Fredericksburg, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Historic Old Mill District
Fredericksburg’s Historic Old Mill District dates its origins to the earliest settlers along the Rappahannock River. This walking tour takes you through what can be considered the city’s first industrial park as it winds along the Rappahannock and a parallel canal. These waterways and the power they provided allowed this 18th, 19th, and early 20th century industrial area to flourish.
1. Indian Punch Bowl
Although the origins of this stone basin are not certain, it is said to have been used by the Indians during hunting festivals as a punch bowl. Found by Major Francis Thornton (1682-1758) upon his land, it was inscribed by Thornton “1720.”
2. Site First Mill (1720)
Owned by Francis Thornton, whose lands encompassed this area, the first mill ground produce of the the Thornton plantation into meal and flour . Such mills were necessary in early colonial times, because plantations were self-sufficient.
3. 1907 Dam and Gates
This dam and gate structure replaced an older dam dated back to the early 1800’s. Made of concrete, the newer dam was said to be “State of the art” and replaced the deteriorating older dam.
4. Site Rappahannock Electric Light & Power Company
5. Bridgewater Mills Foundations (1822)
This 150’ x 40’ brick mill, which was five stories high in part, could ship 150 barrels of flour and 400 bushels of corn per day. The first telephone in Virginia was hooked up between this mill and downtown. The mill won the silver medal at the 1878 Paris International Exposition. Nearby Cooper Chop and Woodwork Shop The Cooper Shop made barrels that were used to ship the flour from the mill. A wood-working shop, also near the mill, utilized tools which were run by water power.
6. Knox Bone Mill and Sumac Mill Foundations
In the 19th century, these mills ground bone into fertilizer for regional use in farming, Sumac, which grows locally, and was used in tanning leather and dyeing textiles, was also extracted from leaves of the sumac tree for sale throughout the United States. Sumac provided income to many Fredericksburg citizens and was one of the principal industries of the city. The Knox Sumac Mill was one of the largest in Virginia.
Location. 38° 19.18′ Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22401, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 10 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Contact: An Industrial Society Confronts A Native American Culture (a few steps from this marker); Harnessing The River's Power (within shouting distance of this marker); Amoroleck Encounters John Smith (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Veterans of Foreign Wars Eternal Flame (approx. Ľ mile away); Gari Melchers Home and Studio (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bound for Freedom (approx. 0.3 miles away); A History of Floods (approx. 0.3 miles away); Caretaker Cottage (approx. 0.4 miles away); Welcome To Our Trails (approx. 0.4 miles away); “Fall Hill” (approx. 0.4 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Fredericksburg.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .
1. Walk Through History . . . Mill Sites and Water Power. (Submitted on June 2, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.)
2. Germania Mill Blaze. (Submitted on June 6, 2007, by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,645 times since then and 77 times this year. Last updated on , by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. Photos: 1. submitted on , by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Dawn Bowen of Fredericksburg, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.