THROWBACK THURSDAY—NOVA PARKS—A VERY HISTORIC MILL

Allie mill


In 2006, Aldie Mill became the 20th park in the NOVA Parks system.  The 200-year old mill processed grain using the waters of the Little River, and it is one of the best-preserved mills in the entire Mid-Atlantic region.  Prior to NOVA Parks’ ownership, the mill was owned by the Virginia Outdoor Foundation (VOF) and restored with a generous gift from the Mellon family.
 
Charles F. Mercer, a lawyer, Virginia legislator and military officer, was the original owner of the mill.  Together with a few other buildings and his nearby house, he called his holdings "Aldie Manor.”  A village grew around the complex and was named Aldie in 1810.  The mill was finished between 1807 and 1809, constructed by William Cooke, who was an indentured contractor.  The final complex had a mill, granary miller's house and store, as well as a distillery, blacksmith shop, sawmill, cooperage and wheelwright's shops.  In 1863, the mill witnessed the beginning of what were to be three battles over four days that are known as the Battles of Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville.  These were part of the Gettysburg Campaign. 
 


George Armstrong Custer fought in the Battle of Aldie as a Captain.  Because of newspaper reports of his heroism, within three weeks he was promoted to Brigadier General at the age of 23, becoming the youngest General in US history.
 
Much of the mill’s machinery, along with the original wood water wheels, was replaced at the beginning of the 20th century with metal wheels and new machinery.   Under the ownership of the Douglass family, the complex was operated in various ways until 1971. 

 
NOVA Parks is proud of its efforts in preserving historic sites in the Northern Virginia region.  Aldie Mill was the first historic park to be acquired in this area along Rt. 50.  Today, NOVA Parks has five historic parks from Gilbert’s Corner to Upperville.  These sites include key battlefield sites that were part of the three battles that took place in this area in June of 1863.  NOVA Parks has now set up an endowment called the “1863 Fund” to support and grow the historic sites in this area.

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