Chapman Mill Historic Site

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17504 Beverley Mill Drive, Broad Run, VA, USA

Chapman Mill Historic Site Broad Run Reviews

Zagnut66 Zagnut66
112 reviews
Chapman Mill Dec 26, 2015
Anyone who has driven west on Interstate 66 from Washington, D.C., is familiar with the old Chapman Mill, a towering ruin of stacked stone off to the side as the highway passes through Thoroughfare Gap in the Bull Run Mountains. The creaky edifice looks like it could topple over in a stiff wind, the victim of an arson fire in 1998 that gutted the roof and interior. But it still stands as it has for over 270 years, now held up by support girders within and open on weekends to those who might enjoy a short jaunt back into the past.

The mill was built in 1742 for the use of farmers transporting wheat and corn from the Shenandoah Valley to the port of Alexandria. Over the years it expanded in size and reached a height of seven stories using stone slabs quarried on site, making it the largest stacked-stone building in the United States. During the Civil War, the Confederates used the mill to store meat to feed their soldiers. The meat was deliberately burned when the Southerners retreated from Northern Virginia in the spring of 1862, the aroma of cooked bacon and ham spreading for miles. Months later, the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap centered on the mill when Southern troops heading to join the Second Battle of Manassas clashed with the Northerners guarding the site. The building changed hands several times with sharpshooters firing from the upper windows before the Northerners withdrew.

The mill survived the war under new owners as the Beverley Mill and continued to operate until closing in 1946. Over its history it produced food for American soldiers from the French and Indian War of the 1750s to World War II. The county border passes through the building since it was used as a reference point when the boundaries were drawn by the colonial legislature. There are plans to restore the structure, but this is still many years down the road as funds are slowly raised for the expensive project.

The gutted interior has a sort of haunted beauty to it found in historical ruins, vines growing over the old mill wheels and light and shadows seeping through the windows above. It is an impressive sight as you crane your head back to look through the open roof high above, trying to imagine what things were like back in the days of its glory. The gates are opened on weekends for folks to mill about, no fees and no docents present either (though occasionally events are held on site). There are hiking trails on the mountain next to the mill where you can find the remains of the old miller’s house and the abandoned quarry. It’s all free and makes for an interesting afternoon trip.
Chapman Mill
Historical marker
Time to explore
Old mill wheel (I took this in Sep…
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halilee says:
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Congrats!
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Hearty congratulations on this review being featured!
Posted on: Jan 03, 2016
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Broad Run