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New Waterwheel Dedicated at Colvin Run Mill

A newly built waterwheel was dedicated at the Colvin Run Mill historic site in Great Falls on June 1.

Restoration carpenters Jim Beatty and Al Casto assembled the pieces of the new 20-foot overshot oak waterwheel for the mill, which is owned and administered by the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Originally built c. 1811 on land once owned by George Washington, the mill was first restored between 1965-1972.

The restoration included a new waterwheel to power the mill machinery and grinding stones so that the mill could produce stone-ground flour and meal. This sturdy wheel out-lasted its estimated 20-year life span, but by 2000, repairs could no longer extend its life.

Waterwheel pieces used in construction include a 125-year old oak tree for the 20' axle and oak boards for the waterwheel rim and buckets.

The Colvin Run Mill historic site includes an early 19th century miller's house with exhibits that describe the family that once operated the mill.

A circa-1900 general store offers candy for sale, with children able to scoop out small amounts, and an interpretive barn with an adjacent blacksmith shop.

Carving demonstrations were held inside the barn as blacksmiths gave demonstrations on the outside.

The park also has picnic tables and trails .

The site is open from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Tuesdays, with tours on the hour.

The last tour of the day starts at 4 p.m.