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Aldie Mill Complex

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1807–1808, William Cooke, builder, and Matthew Adam, millwright. c. 1900, improvements. c. 1980, restoration, William Davis, engineer. c. 1810–1816, granary. U.S. 50 at the Little River Turnpike
  • Aldie Mill Complex (Virginia Division of Historic Resources)

The largest structure and centerpiece of the mill complex was and remains the large merchant mill. At the time of construction the building was a state-of-the-art structure on the cutting edge of the Industrial Revolution. Mercer obtained licenses from the noted Delaware mill designer and theorist Oliver Evans. In 1795 Evans had obtained patents on his equipment, which mechanized what had been a labor-intensive process. The Scots millwright Matthew Adam installed Evans's equipment, which was powered by three overshot waterwheels. The mill ground wheat and corn using imported French burrstones. Around 1900 two iron waterwheels replaced the wooden wheels, and updated milling equipment was added to the building's interior.

To the east of the main mill building is an auxiliary mill structure and warehouse, which may have been an earlier mill. Constructed in conjunction with the mill was the miller's house, south of the millrace. To the west of the mill is a granary and beyond that a store building, also contemporary with the main mill. The complex originally included a distillery, sawmill, wheelwright shop, and blacksmith shop. The mill was in continuous operation, using the original equipment, until 1971. The current owners, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, undertook a major renovation of the complex and restored the mill to working condition.

Adjacent to the complex is the Little River Turnpike Bridge (1810; Little River Turnpike at the Little River) a graceful double-arch structure. Across the road is the Bodmer Wheelwrights shop (c. 1870; north side of the Little River Turnpike on the east side of the Little River), a stone and frame structure from Aldie's industrial heyday.

Writing Credits

Richard Guy Wilson et al.


What's Nearby


Richard Guy Wilson et al., "Aldie Mill Complex", [Aldie, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont, Richard Guy Wilson and contributors. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002, 110-111.

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