Preservation Versus Restoration: What’s the Future of the Mill?

An arsonist's fire left the Mill in ruins and TTMAC with a choice: Preservation, Conservation or Restoration.

An arsonist’s fire left the Mill in ruins and TTMAC with a choice: Preservation, Conservation or Restoration.

Shortly after the devastating 1998 arson that gutted the historic Chapman – Beverley Mill, members of the Turn the Mill Around Campaign had to make a decision.  With the Mill now in ruins, what would be the aim of the organization – to conserve, preserve or restore the Mill?  After speaking with structural engineers and finding that restoration was impossible due to the weakened state of the stone in the walls, TTMAC embarked on an effort to conserve and then preserve the Mill in its ruined state.  But what does that all mean?

Read Karen Kroslowitz’s article ‘Preservation, Conservation, Restoration: What’s the Difference?’ for definitions of each term.

Here at the Mill, the stabilization of the structure’s walls, completed in 2006, is like a form of interventive conservation.  The goal of the internal anchoring system is simply to mitigate the existing damage and to enable the Mill’s walls to safely stand without further stone loss.

The lead sheeting that you see on the Mill’s windowsills is a form of preventive preservation.  Its function is to prevent water from seeping into the walls, the freezing and thawing of which would result in additional stone fracturing.

While the Mill will never be restored to its former glory, it remains preserved as a testament to Northern Virginia’s agricultural history.

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