The Chapman – Beverley Mill is thought to be the tallest stacked stone structure in the U.S., but how tall is it? Look around the web and you’ll see the Mill cited as anywhere from four to seven stories. So, why all the confusion? Well, we can boil it down to two factors: the 1998 arson and slope.
Let’s deal with the arson first. When the Mill burned in 1998, the gable ends of the structure were badly weakened. The decision was made that for the safety of those fighting the fire, the gables must be removed. So, using fire hoses, they were knocked down. What remains of the ends is one story shorter than the Mill originally stood.
Now, let’s consider slope. As it approaches Broad Run, the land slopes considerably downward. The result is that the Mill’s eastern wall is approximately 1.5 stories shorter than the western wall.
So, when you put it all together, the Mill walls originally stood a staggering 7 stories high on the west and 5.5 stories high on the east! They currently stand at 6.5 stories and 5 stories respectively.
And since we’ve come this far, here are a few more facts and figures:
- The Mill is about 50 feet long and 40 feet wide.
- Its walls are 6 feet thick at the bottom and 2 feet thick at the top.
- They contain roughly 1,522 cubic yards of stacked quartzite stone.
- They weigh approximately 3,500 tons!