Woodson’s Mill Reopens
In 1794 Woodson’s Mill, as it is now known, opened and things haven’t changed much since then. The new owners Will and Sarah Brockenbrough, inherited the property after Will’s dad died in 2001, but the mill sat empty for over a decade until they decided to restore it. Both Will and Sarah have degrees in historic preservation so they wanted to bring the mill back to life but they wanted it to be as authentic as possible. Today they mill corn and wheat much as it would have been for over 200 years. The Mill sits on the Piney River and the river water is diverted from a dam upstream to a canal that powers the mill. In the early 1900’s there was some “modern” equipment installed in the mill and while it is still there but not utilized in the milling process today.
Organically grown grain from local farmers is milled in small batches. The grain is milled slowly to avoid the heat generated by commercial mills to prevent breaking down the oils in grain and to preserve the moisture and nutrients found in the grain giving you a product with more taste and texture. The final product is fresh and without any additives or preservatives. I checked the label from cornmeal purchased at a grocery store which had 7 ingredients vs. the corn meal from Woodson’s Mill which just listed white corn as the only ingredient. After this label comparison which product do you think we would rather eat!
The mill stones which grind the grain weigh about one ton. Water flows over the mill wheel which powers the stones. The speed of the stones is controlled by adjusting the flow of the water moving the large mill wheel. The best part of the mill is that you are able to see the whole process from start to finish. Fresh grain comes in and about 15 minutes later it’s grits or cornmeal. Originally the mill was a place to buy grain and later it became the social hub in Nelson County. Today it is one of the last grain mills in the country that still are operational. Visiting the mill offers you a rare glimpse of history.
The mill is only open on Saturdays which is when they typically grind the grain. It is worth the trip to see the mill in action and to buy whole grain flour or grits/cornmeal. If you can’t get by there on a Saturday they do sell their products online at www.woodsonsmill.com. They are sold in recyclable, compostable packages. While the mill uses only the flow of water to operate the milling equipment they currently use electricity for lighting. Soon they hope to generate their own power and be in a position to sell electricity back to the power company.
Woodson’s Mill is located about 45 minutes northwest of The Carriage House Inn Bed and Breakfast and is located at 3211 Lowesville Road, Lowesville, VA
- To reach the mill from Lynchburg take 29 north and travel about 16 miles (from RT 210 and RT 29)
- Turn Left onto RT 151 (Patrick Henry Highway) and travel 7.5 miles
- Turn left onto Lowesville Road and travel approximately 2.4 miles to the mill on the right.
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