Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Occoquan in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Historic Occoquan - Center for the Processing of Grain

 
 
Historic Occoquan - <i>Center for the Processing of Grain</i> Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
1. Historic Occoquan - Center for the Processing of Grain Marker
Inscription. Originally known for its public tobacco warehouses and iron foundry, in the second half of the 18th century Occoquan also became a center for the processing of grain, particularly wheat farmed in the surrounding backcountry. John Ballendine built the town’s first two grist mills, the Country Mill and the larger Merchants’ Mill during the 1750s. Both were water powered, and the section of iron conduit in front of you was once part of the system that harnessed the energy of the Occoquan River to operate them.

Water diverted from upriver flowed through a man-made sluice, or race, regulated by a series of floodgates, until reaching a holding tank located across Mill Street. Operators released water from the tank as needed, channeling it under the road through a stretch of iron conduit. Emerging with force, the water powered the mill wheels before eventually tumbling back into the river at a point along the riverbank adjacent to where you are standing. In 2004, workers constructing the cul-de-sac behind you discovered this segment of conduit that once carried water under Mill Street.

As the first half of the 19th century drew to a close, the silting of the Occoquan River and the growth of rail transport combined to reduce Occoquan’s utility as an industrial center. The Merchants’ Mill (later known variously as Ellicott’s
Historic Occoquan - Center for the Processing of Grain Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
2. Historic Occoquan - Center for the Processing of Grain Marker
Mill and Janney’s Mill) forged on, however, remaining active until destroyed by fire in 1924. Today all that remains is the small Miller’s House to your right and some stone ruins visible near the waters’ edge.

(Caption under small center picture) Merchants’ Mill – 1863

(Caption under picture in upper right) Artist’s Rendition of Merchants’ Mill

(Caption under picture in lower right) Merchants’ and Country Mills and 1878 Bridge

(Sidebar in yellow box, bottom center)
Historic Occoquan, Inc., 2007
This display was funded in part by a grant from the Prince William County Historical Commission.
 
Erected 2007 by Historic Occoquan, Inc.
 
Location. 38° 41.135′ N, 77° 15.732′ W. Marker is in Occoquan, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker is on Mill Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Occoquan VA 22125, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Occoquan (here, next to this marker); Town of Occoquan (here, next to this marker); Ellicott’s Mill (a few steps from this marker); The Dogue Indians
There are four markers in this picture. image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
3. There are four markers in this picture.
(within shouting distance of this marker); Rockledge (within shouting distance of this marker); Occoquan River Bridges (within shouting distance of this marker); Methodist Church (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Commerce Street (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Occoquan.
 
More about this marker. Dedication of the Mill Conduit display was held on August 25th to coincide with the Virginia 2007 theme for the month of August, “Agriculture and Industry Month.”
 
Categories. AgricultureBridges & ViaductsColonial EraIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesNotable EventsSettlements & SettlersWaterways & Vessels
 
Segment of Conduit next to Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
4. Segment of Conduit next to Marker
Stone ruins visible near the waters’ edge image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, September 6, 2007
5. Stone ruins visible near the waters’ edge
In the museum, there are pictures that showed much more remained of the stone wall after the fire. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes destroyed the remaining section, leaving only what you see in this picture.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 7, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,466 times since then and 52 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on September 7, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement