Haymarket Travel Blog› entry 59 of 107 › view all entries
Every time I travel westward on Interstate 66 towards the Shenandoah Valley, I pass the site of Chapman's Mill. I'd visited the site of this historic mill once before, in the 1990s before the 19th century mill burned and was partly destroyed. The mill is clearly visible from the highway. I should go back and see it again and take more photos I've told myself. So, I decided this Sunday was the day. The weather was sunny and the foliage still green from summer. I followed I-66 to the US 15 exit at Haymarket, Virginia. I wrote of a visit to Haymarket in the blog last year in August. Today, I would follow Virginia Route 55 west to the mill. It's not far, less than five miles (8 km).
Crossing over I-66 and turning up a narrow road, I arrived at the mill site's entrance. It was open and no one was around. At the entrance is also a trailhead for numerous hiking trails in the Bull Run Mountain State Natural Area. (Trail maps are available at the trailhead.) Also here is the Mountain House, providing parking for hikers and a display on the area's natural history. But, it was closed today, though cars in the small parking area indicated hikers had taken to the trails. So, on to the mill, just a few hundred yards down the path. No one was here, either. It's unusual, I thought, to have an historical site just sitting there, entirely open.
Inside Beverly's Store, part of the site, are brochures on the mill's history.
I stopped also at the nearby Thoroughfare Gap historical marker display to learn about the mill, the Gap, and their role in the Civil War. While I was there, a freight train rolled by, showing that, between I-66 and the rail line, Thoroughfare Gap is still an important transportation link between the Shenandoah Valley and the Northern Virginia. I also wanted to take photos in the community of Thoroughfare itself. Thoroughfare has an interesting history as an African-American community founded following the Civil War. The community is smaller now than it was, but the Oakrun Church still serves as its center though a historical marker, a country store, and a few homes denote it now.