New or Noteworthy

Hot Grits

Whenever there is something we just can wait to share with all of our friends or think it is too precious to keep to ourselves, we will post an entry here. Our Facebook page keeps track of on-going activities and the newsletter - Grist from the Mill - provides an excellent summary of past events. 

Grist from the Mill
brown moose standing near rock painting

The Fairfax County $112 million bond referendum on the November 3rd ballot received a resounding "YES." THANK YOU!  Bonds have restored and kept the Colvin Run Mill and all Fairfax County Park facilities in great shape. We love our parks! Click on the image above for more information.

New Wheel Ribbon Cutting

On May 2 a crowd of young and old gathered for the cutting of the ribbon to inaugurate the operation of and the first grinding powered by the new water wheel feed by the new flume. Speakers included Tim Hackman, the Dranesville District Park Authority Board member, Jane Edmondson, representing Dranesville District Supervisor John Foust, Sara Baldwin, Acting Director of the Park Authority, and our own Dan Dyke, President of Friends of Colvin Run Mill.

Channel 16 Excellent Report on New Wheel and First Grinding


Click on Link to See Report

Waterwheel and Flume Replacement

After many years of wear, tear, and the elements, it is time to replace the waterwheel and flume. Operations, funded by the Fairfax County Park Authority, are nearly completed. This is not your ordinary home or mill repair. Care is required to maintain the integrity of this historical treasure. Below are a few "before" and "after" pictures, courtesy of FOCRM Robert Coblenz and Dan Dyke. For more action, from beginning to nearly the end, watch the videos below.

As of March 19, the installation of a new flume and waterwheel have been substantially completed. Watch interviews by temporary Colvin Run Mill site manager Sarah Oberther and by one of America's few and certainly one of its best millwrights, Ben Hassett, for more background about this unique renovation project.

Removal of Waterwheel

Simple Machines at the Mill

You all know about simple machines, right? As a reminder, they are: lever, wedge, screw, inclined plane, pulley, and wheel and axle. Simple. Dani, an outstanding educator at Colvin Run Mill, shows how simple machines make work easier at the mill.

Award Winning "STEM in 30!" of the National Air and Space Museum shows how simple tools at the mill are use to solve complex problems today. Not outer space: down to earth.

The STEM in 30! team was amazed at the mill; you will be too.

FOCRM President's virtual presentation to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors 2020 Budget Hearing

FOCRM likes to show support for our favorite historic park.

The Story of Colvin Run Mill Restoration 1968-1972

You really will enjoy this outstanding compilation of pictures and music assembled by Robert Coblenz, member of the Board of Directors, FOCRM

Miller Opens Head Gate and Engages Gears

And the big water wheel starts turning

Sifting the Grind

The Rolling Sieve in the bolting box separates the ground grain into batches of different fineness. The sieve frame is a cylinder covered with coarsely woven silk at the one end and finely woven silk at the other. As the grain moves through the inside of the cylinder, fine flour falls through at one end and course at the other end.

Getting Ready to Grind

The runner stone is balanced on top of the bed stone, then encircled with a wooden hoop. The hoop is topped with the shoe, the damsel, the chair and the hopper.

Complete Milling Process: High Tech 1794

Grain is first weighed then travels up the elevator to be cleaned. It then travels down to the mill stones for grinding, back up to the hopper boy for drying and then off to be sifted and packed in barrels.

Did you know?

Colvin Run Mill is a Mechanical Engineering Landmark

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) has designated Colvin Run Mill a landmark and a "good example of a typical early 19th-century (US) water-powered, Evans-type flour mill, restored into operating condition." This is quite a distinction!

The ASME "Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmarks are existing artifacts or systems representing a significant mechanical engineering technology. They generally are the oldest extant, last surviving examples typical of a period, or they are machines with some unusual distinction.

Landmarks, sites and collections of historic importance to mechanical engineering are designated by ASME through its History and Heritage Landmarks Program. Landmark status indicates that the artifact, site or collection represents a significant step forward in the evolution of mechanical engineering and is the best known example of its kind. A plaque is presented for display, a commemorative brochure is prepared, and a roster is kept to promote long-term recognition and preservation efforts."

The link below takes you to the ASME's write up.