Historic Old Mill District

This photo of the Historic Old Mill District Walking Tour Map was taken in February of 2004. It was located near the Indian Punch Bowl on Riverside Drive in Fredericksburg. Historic Old Mill District, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Fredericksburg’s Historic Old Mill District dates its origins to the earliest settlers along the Rappahannock River. This walking tour takes you through what can be considered the city’s first industrial park as it winds along the Rappahannock and a parallel canal. These waterways and early 20th century industrial area to flourish.

[1] Indian Punch Bowl
Although the origins of this stone basin are not certain, it is said to have been used by Indians during hunting festivals as a punch bowl. Found by Major Francis Thornton (1862-1758) upon his land, it was inscribed by Thornton “1720”.

[2] Site First Mill (1720)
Owned by Francis Thornton, whose lands encompassed this area, the first mill ground produce of the Thornton plantation into meal and flour. Such mills were necessary in early colonial times, because plantations were self-sufficient.

[3] 1907 Dam and Gates
This dam and gate structure replaced an older dam dated back to the early 1800’s. Made of concrete, the newer dam was said to be “state of the art” and replaced the deteriorating older dam.

[4] Site Rappahannock Electric Light & Power Co.
Between 1822 and 1922, this section of canal supplied water to power the water wheel of the Rappahannock Electric Light & Power Co. Between 1900 and 1923, the Company was managed by Ellen Caskie London Ficklin, the first woman in the United States to head a public utilities company.

[5] Bridgewater Mills Foundations (1822)
This 150′ X 40′ brick mill, which was five stories high in part, could ship 150 barrels of flour and 400 bushels of corn per day. The first telephone in Virginia was hooked up between this mil and downtown. The mill won the silver medal at the 1878 Paris International Exposition.

Nearby Cooper Shop and Woodwork Shop
The Cooper Shop made the barrels that were used to ship the flour from the mill. A wood-working shop, also near the mi8ll utilized tools which were run by water power.

[6] Knox Bone Mill and Sumac Mill Foundations
In the 19th century, these mills ground bone into fertilizer for regional use in farming. Sumac, which grows locally, and used in tanning leather and dyeing textiles, was also extracted from leaves of sumac tree for sale throughout the United States. Sumac provided income to many Fredericksburg citizens, and was one of the principal industries of the city. The Knox Sumac Mill was one of the largest in Virginia.

The Historic Old Mill District Walking Tour Map on Riverside Drive was removed.

Indian Punch Bowl