From The Archives
1790 Grist Mill
Jarman's Mill House
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- 1st Floor Bath
- Living room
- Walk out Basement
- Master bedroom upstairs
- Driveway - Dirt
- Storage Building
- Gas Logs
- Gas heating
- Septic Tank
- Water Heater - Electric
- See Description for additional features.
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This sturdy 1333 square foot Mill house with 462 square foot basement and floored attic retains its original construction, and three of the four fireplaces have been converted to gas. The eight-foot retaining wall in front of the house was laid without mortar, and the stones were most likely quarried from the hillside behind the adjacent mill site. In the 1950’s, the Mill house was modernized with electricity, plumbing, interior basement access, a lean-to kitchen, and a living room addition utilizing salvaged wood from the Parrot Family House, circa 1740. The 2-story front porch was probably added around 1900, and the original ground-floor decking was eventually replaced with stamped concrete in the early 1990s. The current detached garage / workshop / barn, also built in the 1990s, covers over 2500 square feet with an additional 1200 square feet of second-floor space. About 200 square feet at the opposite end of the second-floor entrance is finished as a functional office or living area. One can park 10 vehicles comfortably in this structurally sound building.
The dirt road that ran in front of the mill and mill house was originally called Three Notch’d Road. William Jarman and Benjamin Brown maintained the road or turnpike as a toll road: Jarman on the east end and Brown on the west. This was one of the wagon roads that lead into the valley of Virginia. Eventually the Commonwealth of Virginia took possession of these types of roads and made them public highways.
The area near the confluence of Mechum’s River and Lickinghole Creek is said to have been a camp of the Monacan Indians. Lickinghole Creek was named because it is said that buffalo drank from salt pools in very early times. The mill was completely burned twice. The first time by a Union raiding party commanded by General Custer during the civil war and then again around 1950. It was never rebuilt after the second fire. This area was known as Mechum(s) River and was a village of commerce, being near the confluence of Mechums River and Lickinghole Creek, the junctions of Rockfish Gap Tpk, Browns Gap Tpk, Three Notched Road, and the Railroad. The water to power the mill came from the creek in a hand-dug race. Only a small portion of this channel still exists on the mill house property.
East of the mill off US 250 was a tavern called "Oldham's Ordinary" and still remains there today. Near the railroad tracks is "Price's Hotel," c. early 1800s.
Rich with history, the main property is highlighted in Susan DeAlba's 1993 book Country Roads, Albemarle County, Virginia, Self-guided Driving Tours, Tour 7, pg 80 - 81:
"Turn onto Browns Gap Road (SR 680) and follow the signs for Beaver Creek Park. The site of Jarman's Mill, at the junction of creek and river, is across the bridge, on the right.
Some of the 18th-century stonework can be seen near the road. The well-preserved miller's house is on the hillside around the curve. William Jarman's gristmill was an impressive four-story structure with a long millrace.
The Miller's house is ahead on the right. Drive on toward the park.
About 1790 Jarman and his partner, Benjamin Brown, began to improve this section of the original Three Notched Road.
In 1862, a traveler might have met a ragged line of 16,000 Confederate soldiers heading south. After several quick raids on the Union forces, Stonewall Jackson and his men disappeared from the Valley of Virginia by crossing the mountains at Brown's Gap. They marched down this turnpike in the rain and camped overnight in the hills around Mechums River; legend has it that Jackson himself slept in Price's Hotel.
On Monday, May 4, the troops left here by train for McDowell, a village west of Staunton where the Union army thought it impossible for them to be. This tactic had far-reaching consequences, as it prevented Union generals Irvin McDowell and George B. McClellan from joining forces for an attach on General Robert E. Lee's confederate army near Richmond."
Archived in February, 2013