“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Salem, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Garst / Kesler Mill

Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail

Garst/Kesler Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., December 28, 2008
1. Garst/Kesler Mill Marker
Inscription.  At this location in 1842, John Garst purchased 130 acres of fine land on Mason’s Creek. John was born in 1796, and was the son of Frederick Garst. Frederick is buried on a nearby knoll. John Garst built a dam across the creek, and in 1845 he completed his mill. It was situated on the west bank between a wagon road (now Kesler Mill Road) and the stream. Farmers brought their wheat and corn to be ground into flour, meal and feed for livestock between the mill’s burrstones. Flour and meal were staples in the diet of the early settlers, and mills were common in most rural communities. The mill functioned as a social center where neighbors awaited their meal and flour engaged in conversation, and the mill pond provided an ideal place for swimming in the summer months and skating in the winter. The mill on Mason’s Creek remained in operation until 1922, and during the years was known variously as Garst Mill, Salem Roller Mills, and Kesler Mill. In 1906, O. D. Kesler and H. H. Sides purchased one-half interest in the mill, ever since that time, it has been known as Kesler Mill.
Erected 1999 by County
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of Roanoke, the City of Salem, and the Hanging Rock Battlefield and Railway Preservation Foundation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1842.
Location. 37° 18.758′ N, 80° 2.002′ W. Marker is in Salem, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of Keesler Mill Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Salem VA 24153, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Valley Railroad (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Catawba Branch (approx. 0.6 miles away); Hanging Rock (approx. 0.9 miles away); 100th Anniversary of Hanging Rock (approx. 0.9 miles away); Two Future Presidents In Wartime Retreat (approx. one mile away); The Hanging Rock Coal Trestle (approx. one mile away); McCausland Attacks (approx. 1.1 miles away); United Daughters of the Confederacy Monuments (approx. 1.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Salem.
More about this marker. Marker is one of several interpretive signs along the cinder-surfaced, 1.7-mile long Hanging Rock Battlefield Trail that winds along Mason Creek and Kessler Mill Road in Salem, Virginia.
Garst/Kesler Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Kevin W., December 28, 2008
2. Garst/Kesler Mill Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on July 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 9, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,744 times since then and 170 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on January 9, 2009, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.

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Dec. 10, 2023