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Mabry Mill

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c. 1900; 1942, c. 1970 restoration. Milepost 176.1, Blue Ridge Pkwy., Floyd County

Reputedly the most-photographed building on the Blue Ridge Parkway, the mill is a small, three-part frame structure with weatherboard and board-and-batten siding. Erected by Edwin B. Mabry on a stone foundation, the gabled building incorporates a saw and a grist mill, two industrial operations typically found together at mill seats. Water from Laurel Creek is fed through a mill race and flumes to the wooden overshot waterwheel, which powers the millstones quarried at Montgomery County's Brushy Mountain Rock Quarry. The National Park Service, which purchased the mill in 1938, restored it in 1942 and operates an interpretive center here. The mill produces stone-ground flours.

The remaining Mabry farm buildings were torn down and other structures and contraptions of mountain industry brought in to form today's small outdoor museum of mountain culture. Mabry's frame house was demolished and replaced in 1957 by a more picturesque log cabin (c. 1865) from Carroll County. It has a stacked fieldstone chimney, a corner winder stair, and a wood shingle roof. The complex of buildings evokes a bucolic existence that never really existed, conveying a message of a gentler, kinder past that continues to resonate with tourists. Although physically located in Floyd County just over the Patrick County line, the mill's address is Meadows of Dan.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Mabry Mill", [Willis, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 241-242.

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