Crafters And Re-enactors Visit Colvin Run Mill

Crafters And Re-enactors Visit Colvin Run Mill

Great Falls Parks prepare summer activities

— On Sunday, June 7 Colvin Run Mill Historic Site was active with several events at the historic park. Colvin Run Mill was in action with grain grinding demonstrations, and visitors could see millers turn corn into meal and grits, or wheat into flour using the now restored, water-powered grist mill. The mill is often used on the first and third Sundays of the month. From noon to 4 p.m. blacksmiths swung hammers at the Colvin Run forge to create tools and other decorative items from iron. “We had all kind of events going on today,” said park employee and historian Kathryn Blackwell.

The mill opened as a museum in 1972, and visitors can observe its historic machinery in full operation. The restoration work completed at Colvin Run Mill now completely shows the Oliver Evans’ (1755-1819) automated process that revolutionized late 18th and early 19th century flour milling in America. In its heyday, Colvin Run Mill could have produced nearly 4,000 pounds of flour daily, enough to fill twenty 196 pound barrels. The park is operated by the Fairfax County Park Authority and located at 10017 Colvin Run Road in Great Falls. The mill is a popular year-round destination, with visitors including children on school field trips.

Since being restored, the mill has had an increased demand for grain from local restaurants. “We did a heavy grind, about 1,000 pounds of grain today. The normal amount is between 300 to 500 pounds,” said Colvin Run Mill's miller, Mason Maddox.

Other activities of the day included a visit by the Virginia 49th Infantry Regiment, which did drilling and firing demonstrations beginning at 11 a.m. “It is a fun way to reach out to the public and teach history,” said reenactor Kurt Jacobs, a fifth grade elementary teacher at Forestville Elementary School in Great Falls. Members of the Virginia 49th Infantry Regiment visit Colvin Run Mill annually in December for a Christmas Caroling event. To help with historic outreach, members of the Virginia 49th Infantry Regiment dress in attire similar to that used during the American Civil War.

Also at Colvin Run Mill were members of the Northern Virginia Carvers, a group of wood carving enthusiasts who lend their tools and expertise to help others uncover artistic talents from a block of wood. One of the wood carvers was Great Falls resident Jack Edwards. Edwards brought with him several wood carvings. “My wife is a carousel lover, and after finding some design plans on the web, I began my work,” said Edwards. Edwards has used basswood to carve the head of carousel horse. The Northern Virginia Carvers offers a free lesson, with nominal charge for wood blanks, and meet on the first and third Sundays at Colvin Run, June through August noon-4 p.m.

The mill opened as a museum in 1972. On Sunday, June 21, Colvin Run Mill will be open with free mill tours for all fathers accompanied by their children. Riverbend Park located at 700 Potomac Hills Street in Great Falls will host a Father’s Day fishing event from 5 to 7 p.m. on June 21. The cost is $8 per person and includes supplies and equipment or you may bring your own rod and reel. All fish caught will be released.