A pair of stone pillars now greet visitors as they approach the property at the end of Beverley’s Mill Drive where the stark and imposing remains of the mill loom over I-66 in Thoroughfare Gap. The pillars flank the entrance to the property, announcing to visitors their arrival at a special place.
Built by Rappahannock County stonemason Forrest Whorton, his son Jonathan, brother Marty and nephew Vane, the pillars stand three feet square by five feet tall and were erected during Thanksgiving. The stone came from Bull Run Mountain. It is the same quarried stone that comprises the mill itself. The Whortons hand-selected corner stones, a mixture of different stone colors and the “realm,” the large, flat rock that tops each pillar. After the realm was set, the stonemasons returned to the quarry to find something just right to finish the work, and came up with a pair of triangular stones. They mimic the flat, angular schists that jut skyward out of Broad Run, which once powered the mill. Set atop the pillars, the effect is a flame licking upward.
“It was all done in the spirit of the mill,” explained Turn the Mill Around Campaign founding board member Andrea Currier. “It’s a contemporary way of expressing the story of the mill.” Some the pillar stones were selected for their dark color, reminiscent of charred wood, a reference to the 1998 fire that left the mill the noble ruin it is today.
The stone pillars are the first tangible manifestation of the mill site master plan, which calls for parking for cars and buses, ADA access to the mill, a series of meandering paths and places to pause and learn about the many historic and archeological components of the property as well as the mill itself. In the coming months, look for more updates as the project evolves.
Thanks go to Michael Lauterbach of J. Michael Lauterbach Construction in Orlean for overseeing the construction of the pillars and for contributing to their story here. Also helping on the project were Corey Savage, Rappahannock County, and Justin Funkhouser, Winchester.