Who are the Friends of Peirce Mill?
The Friends of Peirce Mill ("the Friends") is a non-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer organization dedicated to the restoration to operating condition of historic Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park, a National Park Service property in the heart of nation's capital. The Friends' vision is to revive Peirce Mill as a living exhibit of water-powered milling and a view on 19th century industry in the Washington D.C. area. The Friends are working to augment the National Park Service's resources by raising both money and awareness of the importance of preserving this valuable resource.
Why restore Peirce Mill?
Peirce Mill, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the last of what were once eight water mills along Rock Creek in the District of Columbia. The mill ceased commercial operations in 1897 and shortly thereafter was incorporated into Rock Creek Park. It was restored in the 1930s and for much of the time since then it has been open to the public, even supplying government cafeterias with flour in the 1930s and 1940s. However, operations ceased in 1993 due to a major failure of the wooden machinery, and the National Park Service was unable to allocate the necessary funds to restore the structure and machinery. It was gradually deteriorating and visitation had dropped significantly. This important piece of history and valuable educational resource was greatly underutilized. It was to correct this situation that the Friends of Peirce Mill was organized.
What needs to be done?
Restoration: Surveys by restoration experts revealed the need to replace many of the beams and columns supporting the floors of the mill, to strengthen the framework supporting the milling machinery, and to repair or replace the water wheel and some of the wooden gears which turn the millstones. A pumped, recirculating water system to power the mill has also been proposed. Additional facilities are needed to provide handicap access to the building.
Education: New exhibits and trained interpreters area needed in both the mill building and the adjoining Carriage House. The exhibits will show visitors the history of Peirce Mill and other mills as well as describe the impact of this early industrial development on the commerce of the Washington area.
Outreach: Attractions of the mill need to be better publicized and the site needs to be made more accessible to encourage visitor and school groups to visit this 19th century water mill in operation.
How can you support the restoration of Peirce Mill?
The total cost of the restoration of Peirce Mill, and the development of new educational materials and programs, is estimated to be $1.5 million. The Friends are seeking tax-deductible contributions from individuals, corporations, and foundations to restore and revive this valuable piece of history in Washington, D.C.
If you would like to take part in the Peirce Mill restoration project, visit our website and become a member of the Friends.