For the last several weeks, we at TTMAC have been closely following developments related to Dominion Virginia’s proposed Haymarket power station. As you can see from the map at left, Dominion’s ‘Western Alternative’ and the 90 to 110 foot power towers that would come with it in the current above-ground proposal would directly impact the Mill and the whole Thoroughfare Gap viewshed. To voice our concerns about the plan, TTMAC recently sent the following letter to Dominion:
February 1, 2015
As stewards of the historic Chapman – Beverley Mill in Thoroughfare Gap, the Turn The Mill Around Campaign vigorously opposes any alignment of a Dominion transmission line in the direct line of sight of the Mill and the surrounding viewshed. In reviewing the maps and documents of Dominion’s draft proposal for a 230K line and substation to serve development in Haymarket, it appears that the alignment known as “the Western Alternative” parallels Beverley’s Mill Road and John Marshall Highway as this historic road traverses the Gap. The construction of 110-foot transmission towers and their attendant cables on such an alignment would prove devastating to the historical integrity of the Gap, the Mill and indeed, the entire viewshed of this designated National Heritage Area.
A National Register property and a strategic landmark during the Civil War, Chapman – Beverley Mill was built in 1742, stood at the center of 18th Century Virginia industry and economy, survived and thrived through five U.S. wars and was considered of such historical and cultural importance that the course of I-66 was altered to preserve it. Archeological research and artifacts further reveal Thoroughfare Gap to have been an important migratory passage for bison, a Native American corridor and trading place, and a literal thoroughfare for European westward colonization.
Saving and preserving Chapman – Beverley Mill as a community resource has been at the core of TTMAC’s efforts since our non-profit organization acquired the property following the 1998 arson fire that devastated the structure. Already our organization has invested $1.2 million in grants and community support to stabilize and preserve the ruin of the Mill. Now, with funding from Commonwealth and federal sources, widespread community investment and the blessings of Fauquier and Prince William Counties, Turn The Mill Around Campaign this spring will embark on the implementation of our Master Plan. This nearly half-million-dollar project will transform the Mill property into a secure park with parking and universal access, with the goal of opening the Mill up to the public free of charge on a continuing basis. A potential massive transmission line will undermine fund-raising efforts and thereby the viability of our park project.
Chapman – Beverley Mill today is a cherished icon of our cultural landscape, a community resource in which the community itself is vested. In light of this and the overarching historical importance and integrity of the area, we respectively request that you immediately remove the “Western Alternative” as represented in the current proposal from any proposal of a future transmission line to Haymarket.
Turn the Mill Around Campaign Chapman – Beverley Mill Historic Site