Historic Washington Mill: This storied Mill is ready for its next chapter! With the recent expansion plans of the Inn at Little Washington just getting underway and ongoing development at “Rush River Commons” just across Warren Ave from the Mill, the time is ripe for this historic icon to become the new icon of commerce for the “First Washington”! – The Mill Building, with roughly 4000 SF of floor area, shored up structural support, freshly painted roof and electricity, can serve, in its current condition, as the anchor and backdrop for a variety of endeavors.
It sits at the low edge of a steep embankment (that could be terraced to form a natural amphitheater) with a meadow area on the river side, ideally suited to a variety passive recreational uses such as concerts, picnics. The upper (western) 1 acre plateau above the embankment is relatively flat, has a solid slab (former foundation of 1950’s era drive-in-restaurant) a drip, waste-water drain field and could accommodate 60 odd parking spaces and 15 or more “Tiny House” housing units, or Converted Container retail spaces. These upper and lower sections west of the Rush River are zoned Commercial General. The area on the east side of the river, which is zoned Agricultural, can be devoted to drain-field us and will accommodate additional recreational uses (hiking, for example), and also houses remnants of a colonial roadbed. The river itself connects (through existing box-culvert under 211) to the County Park to the south. The zoning of the lot is such that most uses are allowed by right.
Brief History: The former town mill of “Little” Washington, VA supplied flour, meal and grain to the town from the late 1700’s to the early 1900’s. The stone foundation of the current structure is believed to date from ca. 1790, the third floor likely ca. 1840 and upper levels ca. 1860. During the Civil War the site served as a neutral bartering place. Once again on the periphery of war, local lore has it that much of the mill’s inner workings and machinery, including the water wheel, were scrapped during WWII to salvage metal components to be melted down for use to support the war effort. In the 1950’s it was host to a VA Symphony concert, at which time, it’s believed, some improvements were made to shore-up the stone perimeter of the first 2 levels. In the 1960’s the site was host to the Blue Ridge Music Festival. The building, while needing extensive renovation, is in fairly good condition with many historical elements preserved, including the rubble stone foundation, massive timbers, mortised-tenored-and-pegged together, hand-hewn smaller timbers with chafing and lamb’s tongue details on posts and beams and paneling secured with hand-made nails as well as partial remains of the mill’s inner workings.
The Mill is listed on the National Register and is also a VA Historic Landmark and soon to be Icon of Commerce.
Updated on August 17, 2023 at 1:46 pm