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Kennedy-McFadden-Wade Mill District (Buffalo Springs Farm)

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Buffalo Springs Farm
Late 18th–20th century. Kennedy Wades Mill Loop at Raphine Rd.
  • McFadden House (Photograph by D Hughes)
  • Mill (Photograph by D Hughes)

An excellent example of a nineteenth-century milling community, this site offers one of the best-preserved operating gristmills in the Shenandoah Valley. Otts Creek powers the mill, and the buildings surrounding it include the original owner's farmhouse, the miller's and the assistant miller's houses, and some typical agricultural outbuildings. The McFadden House (c. 1815) is the oldest building in the group. Local tradition dates it to the late eighteenth century when Andrew Kennedy first opened a milling operation here. But the Federal details and especially the molded brick cornice suggest a c. 1815 date, when Kennedy's daughter and her husband, John McFadden, took over the property. The mill was left to her two brothers, beginning a separation of ownership of the two prime structures that has continued. The mill (c. 1790, 1873) has been rebuilt several times, most significantly after an 1873 fire, but its site and portions of its stone foundation reflect its eighteenth-century origins. Powered by an overshot wheel, the three-story mill features a frame upper portion over a high stone base. The mill equipment dates from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Other notable buildings in the complex include a frame miller's house (c. 1850) with Greek Revival detailing, a stone springhouse (c. 1820) with an unusual shed roof, a log corncrib (c. 1850), and two frame bank barns (c. 1900) that are characteristic of the region. It is an unusual ensemble to have survived so completely into the twenty-first century.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Kennedy-McFadden-Wade Mill District (Buffalo Springs Farm)", [Raphine, 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, 136-137.

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