Harpers Ferry in Jefferson County, West Virginia — The American South (Appalachia)
The foundation of Island Mills, one of the earliest (1824) industries on the island, lies before you. Each fall the railroad brought wheat here from the Potomac and Shenandoah valleys to be ground into flour, packed into barrels, and shipped east to Baltimore.
Fire destroyed the original mill in 1839. Construction of a larger 3 1/2-story stone building followed the next year on the same site. Over the next 5 years ownership changed several times until Abraham Herr acquired the mill in 1844. Then known as Herr's Mill, it dwarfed the surrounding factories in Virginia and could produce $233,400 in flour annually, thirteen times the amount produced by the average flour mill in the United States in 1860.
By the outbreak of the Civil War, Herr owned all of Virginius Island. As a Northern supporter, he donated a large quantity of grain to Union soldiers stationed in the area in October 1861. A few days later, Confederates seized Harpers Ferry and torched Herr's flour mill. The flames completely gutted the building, but Herr escaped to the North.
Location. 39° 19.312′ N, 77° 44.198′ W. Marker is in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, in Jefferson Touch for map. Located on Virginius Island in Harpers Ferry National Historic Site. Marker is in this post office area: Harpers Ferry WV 25425, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Jonathan Child House (within shouting distance of this marker); Island Access (within shouting distance of this marker); River Wall (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); House Ruins (about 400 feet away); Head Gates and Inner Basin (about 400 feet away); Railroads (about 400 feet away); Jefferson Rock (about 500 feet away); a different marker also named Jefferson Rock (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harpers Ferry.
More about this marker. In the lower part of the marker are a series of photos showing the mill as it looked when in use. On the lower left a photo shows the Island Mills in 1857. The lower center photo shows A Federal troop train on Virginius Island in December 1864. The ruins of Herr's Mill, burned three years earlier by Confederate raiders, stand at right. On the lower right is An 1898 photograph of Herr's Mill ruins.
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • War, US Civil •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 843 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on May 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 2. submitted on August 22, 2010, by Paul Jordan of Burlington, N. C., U. S. A.. 3, 4. submitted on May 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.