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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Valley Mill

 
 
Valley Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 24, 2018
1. Valley Mill Marker
Inscription.
Recording the Past
In 1936, John Brostup came to Colesville to take photographs for the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), a New Deal federal works project established to capture pre-1860s structures on film before they disappeared. Of the 154 properties Brostup documented in Maryland for HABS, fifty-eight were located in Montgomery County. Of that number, the mid-19th century two-and-a-half story structure with a raised foundation at Valley Mill represented the only mill Brostup recorded for posterity.

As vividly depicted in a black and white photo, the mill was already in a state of demise. Past its prime, the building no longer had a viable function — the plight of most grist mills in the early 20th century. American households, regardless of economic status and location, increasingly had access to finely bleached machine-processed white flour manufactured by large milling corporations such as Pillsbury and Gold Medal. The Valley Mill was eventually dismantled in 1941.

The goal of stewardship that began with HABS recording Valley Mill as an architectural relic continues today. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) utilizes archaeology to uncover artifacts that address what daily life was like at this once thriving local enterprise. Although the mill
Valley Mill Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Jones, March 24, 2018
2. Valley Mill Marker
facility no longer stands, its foundation remains as a visible reminder that this business played a critical role in the surrounding community as a provider of necessary goods.

Mill Timeline

1720s:
Records reveal milling began at this location along the Paint Branch stream

1773:
Public sale ad identifies a physical structure here: "single geared grist mill with bolting cloth."

1793:
Peter Kemp constructs the brick miller's house and incorporates an automated system of elebators and conveyors into the mill, then known as "Kemp Mill"

1835:
Dr. Washington Duvall assumes ownership of the mill; focuses on production of cornmeal and lumber

1841-1842:
Duvall replaces the entire milling facility, building on the original foundation

1879:
Franklin A. Piling updates the internal milling technology with the introduction of the Poole and Hunt Leffel-type turbine, replacing the old water paddle wheel (see below)

1909:
Captain Winfield S. Overton advertises the property as the "Valley Mill Farm" where "leghorns, hatching eggs, dairy products" were available

1936:
Historic Americans Buildings Survey documents Valley Mill

1941:
The milling facility is dismantled

1972:
M-NCPPC purchases the property to create the Valley Mill Special Park
 
Erected by Montgomery Parks.
 
Location. 39° 3.965′ N, 76° 58.68′ W. Marker is in Silver Spring, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker can be reached from East Randolph Road west of Tourmaline Court, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. On the grounds of Valley Mill Special Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1600 East Randolph Road, Silver Spring MD 20904, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A different marker also named Valley Mill (a few steps from this marker); Edmonston's Mill (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Snowden's Mill (approx. 0.4 miles away); Fawcett's Mill (approx. mile away); Smithville Colored School (approx. 1.1 miles away); Rachel Carson House (approx. 1.8 miles away); The Northwest Branch (approx. 2 miles away); Mica Mine Ruins (approx. 2.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Silver Spring.
 
Categories. AgricultureColonial EraIndustry & Commerce
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 26, 2018. This page originally submitted on March 24, 2018, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 35 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 24, 2018, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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