Category Archives: TTMAC

Memories of Thoroughfare Gap

We’re rediscovering some real gems in our collection!

Just about 7 years ago, Mr. Rick Campbell was kind enough to share his memories of the Chapman – Beverley Mill and the Broad Run, VA area with Turn the Mill Around Campaign representatives.  In this short clip from the interview, Mr. Campbell remembers the impact of hurricane Agnes and how Beverley Mill Drive in Broad Run, VA got its name.

Work Under Way to Improve Access to Mill

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Turn the Mill Around Campaign (TTMAC) is proud to announce that work to improve access to the historic Chapman – Beverley Mill in Broad Run has begun. Following several years of planning and fundraising, the first phase of TTMAC’s accessibility master plan commenced on September 1 with the arrival of construction equipment that will lay down a new bus turnaround and parking area at the Mill site.

TTMAC received the Chapman – Beverley Mill – an historic 1742 grist mill on the border between Fauquier and Prince William Counties – and its associated property shortly after a 1998 arson that nearly destroyed the structure. Since that time, the mission of the campaign has been to both preserve the Mill ruins and make the site accessible to the public. Work to stabilize the Mill was successfully completed in the mid-2000’s enabling TTMAC to safely open the site to the public during weekends. The campaign anticipates that the project currently under way will significantly improve visitor experience at the Mill.

“We’re especially excited about the bus turnaround,” noted Executive Director Frances Allshouse. “When the work is complete, we will be able to accommodate school field trips and bus tour groups that simply would not have been able to get to the Mill otherwise.” The completed project will also boast 15 new parking places and a handicapped / van accessible parking area. “In the coming months, we look forward to being able to share the Mill with even more visitors thanks to the new parking and bus area,” Allshouse continued.

While construction is under way, the site will remain closed to the public. Work is expected to conclude in October.

For more information visit or contact Frances Allshouse at 540-253-5888 or by email at

April 23 – Adopt a Stone!

About a year ago, TTMAC launched its first Adopt a Stone campaign.  The campaign enables lovers of the Mill to show their support in a unique way – by ‘adopting’ one of the Mill’s many stones.  Adopters make a donation and in return they can choose a stone to commemorate a special event or dedicate to a loved one.


Take a look at the clip NBC4 aired about the Adopt a Stone Kickoff in 2015!

The kickoff event went splendidly and while stones have been selling all year long, there are still plenty of great ones to choose from.  So, if you missed our event last year, now is your chance to pick your perfect stone!

April 23

Adopt a Stone Day at Chapman – Beverley Mill
10AM – 5PM

Support the Mill by joining us at the historic site (17504 Beverley Mill Drive Broad Run, VA 20137) to adopt one (or more!) of the structure’s over 3,000 stones.

Stones on the Mill’s southern wall – the wall facing Interstate 66 – will be available for adoption and prices will range from just $25 to $1,000 or more depending on size and position. Donors will receive an adoption certificate noting the unique reference number of their stone and a map showing the position of that stone on the Mill.

The first $700 of adoptions will be used to help conserve the milling machinery that was pulled from the wreckage of the Mill following an arson in 1998.  All additional proceeds benefit the continued preservation and interpretation of the Chapman – Beverley Mill Historic Site.

We look forward to seeing you on April 23!

Old Newspaper Article Raises New Questions

mill and locomotive engine smHere at TTMAC, we’re always looking for new pieces of information about the history of the Chapman – Beverley Mill.  Sometimes documents we uncover help answer long-standing debates about the Mill’s history and other times they simply lead to more questions.  Recently, we stumbled across the following article originally published in the Alexandria Gazette in 1851:

Alexandria Gazette 15 Aug 1851
MILL FOR RENT – The Subscriber offers for rent for the next season, “THE NEW MILL at this place. It has two pair of Burrs, and a pair of Corn Stones a first rate Smutt Machine. It is situated within 50 feet of the Railroad. The steam is the largest and most lasting in the region. Possession will be given after the 1st of August 1851. It borders upon a fine wheat growing region, and from its proximity to the Depot, it will command it to the Blue Ridge. The Road it is supposed will be finished to this place by the 1st of May. Persons wishing such property will communicate either by person or by letter to this place (post-paid) to me.
John Chapman
Thoroughfare, Va.

What catches our attention about this piece is the reference to the ‘New Mill.’  By 1851 has Chapman actually built a new mill near Broad Run?  Or has he simply renovated one of the existing mills?  And why is he renting this Mill?  Perhaps to help recoup the $2,000 he paid the Manassas Gap Railroad to bring the rail alongside the Mill?

More research is definitely needed!


Adopt a Stone

Adopt a Stone begins May 2, 2015

Adopt a Stone begins May 2, 2015

Since its construction in 1742, the Mill has weathered all manner of storms.  Economic downturns, wars, arson and even floods have all taken a toll, but through it all, the community has continued to value, cherish and protect this beautiful old structure.

TTMAC understands the important role the Mill has played in the community and now we want to share the Mill in a brand new way.

Beginning in May, individuals will be able to adopt one of the Chapman – Beverley Mill’s many stones.  Come out to the Mill on May 2 and 3 10AM to 5PM and make your selection of the stone or stones you would like to sponsor.  For this first event, only stones on the southernmost wall ( the wall that faces Interstate 66) will be available.  Prices will vary depending on the size and position of the stone, but will start at as little as $25 per stone.  In exchange, you’ll receive a certificate noting which stone you’ve adopted and a map showing the position of your stone.

As always, your contributions will help TTMAC in its ongoing mission to preserve and promote the Mill and its history.

So, mark your calendars for May 2 and 3.  We look forward to seeing you at the Mill!

Can’t make it to the event?  Online adoptions will begin shortly after the kickoff!  Contact Frances Allshouse at for more information.

Dominion Virginia Western Alternative

dominion map copy

Dominion’s Western Alternative would directly impact the Mill

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

If you too are concerned about the proposed Dominion power towers, be sure to visit for more information.  From their website you can even find out how you can get involved.


A Short Delay in Park Plans

Snow in the Chapman – Beverley Mill

The long, cold, wet winter has done its job on more than one project in the area, and we’re no exception. Between contractors being backed up and the bureaucracy wending its way, our park project start is delayed until late summer. Not to worry! Plans haven’t changed. We’re still going to bring you a beautiful park, it’s just going to take a little longer. If all goes well, we should be done with construction by winter, giving the land a chance to breathe and recoup before bursting forth next spring.

Meantime, the delay means the Mill will continue to be open to the public weekends at least until the end of June (if this changes, we’ll let you know right away). It also means we can plan events at the Mill this summer. Last but not least, it means we can fine ­tune our fund-raising launch before the bulldozers arrive and the banner goes up (we haven’t told you about this yet) in a few weeks.

So look for further news as it develops, right here on Milling Minutes. If you want to be the first on your block to get the news, sign up to get our emails.

Seven Things to See at the Chapman – Beverley Mill

Tour the Mill this weekend!

Tour the Mill this weekend!

Planning to visit the Mill this weekend? Be sure to look for these seven features while you’re there.  You can even download our self-guided tour HERE.

1) The Chapman – Beverley Mill
Originally owned by Jonathan and Nathaniel Chapman, the Mill was constructed around 1742 by slaves who stacked quartzite stone quarried from the mountain above. The Mill was destroyed by fire in 1858 and again during the Civil War. The Beverley family acquired the property shortly after the Civil War and re-established the Mill as a major economic center within the community. After more than 200 years of use, the Mill ceased operations in the mid 20th Century.

2) Railroad
When the Manassas Gap Railroad came to Thoroughfare Gap in 1852, the Chapman family gave the company $2000 to ensure that the rail was laid next to the Mill. As a result, the Mill prospered. By 1858 it was raised to a total of seven stories.

3) Meadowland
The ruins now standing across the railroad from the Mill property once served as the Chapman family home. Meadowland was built in the mid 18th Century. It had two and one half stories, a full basement and fireplaces on each floor. Throughout the 18th and 19th Centuries several outbuildings also stood on the home site.

4) Cabin Sites
Photographs from the late 19th Century indicate that there may have been several small cabins in this area. It is unclear at present when these structures were built or who occupied them. In the coming months, our archaeology crew hopes to examine the area to see what additional information may be found in the earth.

5) Furr House
Built in the late 19th or early 20th Century by the Furr family, a concrete slab is all that remains of the wood frame Furr house today. Photographic evidence suggests that the home may have included one or more smaller, older tenements. Further archaeological study may provide additional information about the history of this home.

6) Mill Store
The Mill store was established by the Furr family in the 1930’s. The store was originally intended as an outlet where Mill owners could sell flour and cornmeal, but it soon expanded to provide other goods. It continued operating as a general store and later a post office long after the Mill closed

7) County Border
In 1759, Fauquier County was formed from a portion of Prince William County. Chapman’s Mill was used as a point to identify the border between the two counties. Today, the Mill still straddles the county line.

Keeping the Mill’s Walls Standing


Stabilizing the Chapman – Beverley Mill Walls


Turn the Mill Around Campaign faced a very big problem when it took over management of the Mill in 1998. The fire that year had left the walls of the structure fragile and in danger of collapse.  TTMAC contacted numerous companies about stabilizing the ruins, but each considered the walls too delicate to save.

Workers Installing Cintec Anchors

Workers Installing Cintec Anchors

Finally, TTMAC contacted Cintec, a preservation business known for stabilizing European castle ruins. Cintec devised a plan to strengthen the walls one at a time. Beginning on the South wall (the most fragile), Cintec workers drilled down through the wall from top to bottom inserting a strengthening rod and filling the void with a mortar-like substance.  The South wall was completed in 2004 and by 2006 the whole structure had undergone the Cintec internal anchoring system process!

For an in-depth explanation of how Cintec anchors work and how they’re installed, take a look at the stabilization of the Baltimore Basilica.

Chapman-Beverley Mill Master Plan

Master Plan for the Mill

Master Plan for the Mill

Since TTMAC received the Chapman – Beverley Mill property shortly after the 1998 arson that nearly destroyed the structure, the campaign has striven to both preserve the Mill and make it accessible to the public.  Our first order of business was to stabilize the Mill structure (Look out for a blog post on stabilization techniques soon!).  With stabilization completed in the mid-2000’s, we looked to discover more about the site through archaeology.  Now, with our archaeological study underway, we seek to share all that we’ve learnt with the public!

Beginning in the spring or summer of 2015, TTMAC will start improving the Mill site — adding walking paths, informational signage and hopefully increasing hours of access.  The image that accompanies this post is an early rendering of TTMAC’s master plan for the site.  The plan has changed slightly since this drawing was created, but we hope you’ll take a minute to examine it.  It gives a great sneak peak at some of the developments you can expect to see when you visit the Mill in the coming months.  And once you’ve taken a look, let us know what you think!  Leave a comment below or shoot us an email at

Happy 2015 everyone!