Silver Spring in Montgomery County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Inside the Mill
Built by 1723, the grist mill that Richard Snowden operated here is considered the earliest commercial enterprise in Montgomery County. Local resident patronized his "custom" mill where neighbors paid a "toll" to have flour produced, often made from the very grain farmers cultivated. Flour was such a critical component of the colonial diet, that a trip to the mill was a necessity. While waiting for their grain to be processed, the citizens who had traveled long distances came into town to shop and socialize.
Miller at Work
The friendly face that met you at the basement door of the mill was the miller, the person who owned the business and maintained the machinery. Usually a man, he supervised both apprentices and journeymen who learned the trade of milling from the master.
Dressing the Millstone
Courtesy: AAubreyBodine.com Made of various stones, including quartz, buhrstone, limestone, and sandstone, millstones or burrs usually worked in a pair known as a run. The run consisted of a bedstone (bottom stone) and a runner (top stone). The distance between the two stones was set according to the type of grain being prepared. These stones had to be "dressed" or cleaned to ensure peak
A Auxiliary take-off wheels
B After a customer dropped off the unprocessed grain and the miller took his portion for payment, one of the laborers performed a "sack and back" job (the gruesome task of carrying the bags up and down the ladder-like stairs to the top floor) unless the mill had a sack hoist. The grain was dumped to the hopper to begin being processed into flour.
C The grain was then funneled into the chute.
D Crane with iron tongs (to lift runner stone for dressing)
E After the chute, the grain fell into a wood grain hopper (48" x 48") that was offset from the eye of the runner stone.
F The grain fell onto a pair of monolithic millstones (54" diameter) and was ground into a fine powder.
G Wood stone casing (62" outside diameter) for gathering ground meal
H The spout from the stone casing transferred the flour to the sifter.
I The lantern pinion gear (wallower) transmitted power to the sifter.
J Great spur gear and wheel with wooden teeth
K The bridgetree and brayer adjusted the distance between the runner and bed stones.
L The flour finally
M Iron gudgeon set into wood axle (to support the water wheel shaft)
N Water wheel and axle gear
O Auxiliary take-off wheel to pulleys above.
Background image: Piney Branch Water Mill, Fairfax, VA (perhaps similar to the mill used by Richard Snowden)
Courtesy: Library of Congress
Erected by Montgomery Parks.
Location. 39° 4.279′ N, 76° 58.546′ W. Marker is in Silver Spring, Maryland, in Montgomery County. Marker is on Paint Branch Trail, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: 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. Edmonston's Mill (approx. 0.3 miles away); Fawcett's Mill (approx. 0.4 miles away); Valley Mill (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Valley Mill (approx. 0.4 miles away); Smithville Colored School (approx. 1.1 miles away); Rachel Carson House (approx. 2.2 miles away); The Northwest Branch (approx. 2.7 miles away); Mica Mine Ruins (approx. 2.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Silver Spring.
More about this marker. Nearest road access to Paint Branch trail is Tamarack Park, near the intersection of Collingwood Terrace and Lemontree Lane. Enter the trail at the park entrance and turn right at the fork. The marker will be on the left.
Categories. • Agriculture • Colonial Era • Industry & Commerce •
Credits. This page was last revised on April 3, 2018. This page originally submitted on April 1, 2018, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 48 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on April 1, 2018, by Devry Jones of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.