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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Meadows of Dan in Floyd County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Sorghum Making

 
 
Sorghum Making Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 18, 2021
1. Sorghum Making Marker
Inscription.  Making sorghum molasses became popular during the Civil War, when supplies of sugar and corn syrup were interrupted. The practice continues today in many communities, where the sweet smell of boiling sorghum can be enjoyed in the cool October air.

A horse or mule, hitched to a sweep about ten feet long, walks in a circle, turning the rollers of the sorghum mill. As stalks are fed through the rotating rollers, the extracted, bright green juice passes through a cloth strainer and into a barrel. Today, gasoline engines have largely replaced traditional horse or mule power.

The juice is cooked for several hours in an evaporator, or boiler box, similar to the one to your left. As the syrup thickens and turns caramel color, watchful cooks skim the dark foam that forms on the surface. When the batch reaches the desired consistency, it is strained and bottled or canned. About 10 gallons of juice yield one gallon of syrup. Many people prefer the taste of sorghum to molasses made from sugar cane.

[illustration caption]
At harvest, workers strip the leaves and cut the red seed pods, or head, from the cane. Using a hoe or other blade,

Marker detail: Mule Hitched to Sweep image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Mule Hitched to Sweep
Horse or mule walks in a circle turning the rollers of the sorghum mill.
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they cut and then stack the stalks.
 
Erected by National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureParks & Recreational AreasSettlements & SettlersWar, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the Blue Ridge Parkway series list.
 
Location. 36° 45.092′ N, 80° 24.351′ W. Marker is near Meadows of Dan, Virginia, in Floyd County. Marker can be reached from Blue Ridge Parkway (at milepost 176.2), 0.2 miles south of Mabry Mill Road SE (Virginia Route 603), on the left when traveling south. Marker is located along the Mabry Mill interpretive trail. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 266 Mabry Mill Road SE, Meadows of Dan VA 24120, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Homemade Soap Recipe (within shouting distance of this marker); Blacksmith Shop (within shouting distance of this marker); Appalachian Houses (within shouting distance of this marker); Bark Mill (within shouting distance of this marker); Challenges (within shouting distance of this marker); Whisky Still (within shouting distance of this marker); Lumber Drying Rack
Marker detail: Cooking a Batch of Sorghum image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Cooking a Batch of Sorghum
(within shouting distance of this marker); You Buy 'Em, We'll Fly 'Em! (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Meadows of Dan.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Mabry Mill
 
Also see . . .  Mabry Mill. The sights and sounds of Rural Appalachia fill the air at Mabry Mill during summer and fall. Ed Mabry built the mill where he and his wife Lizzy ground corn, sawed lumber, and did blacksmithing for three decades. The old mill, cultural demonstrations, and a decades-long tradition of Sunday afternoon music and dancing continue to draw visitors today. (Submitted on June 4, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Sorghum Making Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 18, 2021
4. Sorghum Making Marker
Sorghum Mill image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 18, 2021
5. Sorghum Mill
Boiler Box image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 18, 2021
6. Boiler Box
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 4, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 3, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 51 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 4, 2021, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Jun. 18, 2021