About the Mill

Nestled under some walnut trees, on a low lying piece of ground in the town of Forestville is the Andrew Zirkle Mill. Estimated to be 245 years old, this little mill is a true survivor. The mill has seen the birth of a nation, survived mortal danger in the Civil War and was recently saved by Zirkle descendents and interested citizens in a hard-fought preservation battle.

The mill sits on the bank of Holman's Creek, a spring fed tributary of the North Fork of the Shenandoah River. Built by the Zirkle Brothers sometime in the 1760's and owned by the Revolutionary War Patriot Andrew Zirkle, this mill was in constant operation for 180 years. It was retired from service in the late 1940's, a victim of modernized factories.

Built using a hand hewn log frame and weatherboard siding which rests on a limestone foundation, the mill is a notable example of the architecture of the period. The flooring inside the mill is original. The mill still contains its original millstones of French Burr design and a set of roller milling equipment that was installed sometime around 1895. Its current drive line and overshot waterwheel were manufactured by the Fitz Water Wheel Company of Hanover, Pennsylvania.

Also of note is the mill race, which winds for 1/4 mile through Forestville, passes under State Route 42, before turning into the raised wood mill race that feeds it to the Fitz Overshot Water Wheel.

Today the mill is owned by two Zirkle descendants who are preservationists and who intend to restore the mill to working order, to make it an educational resource and to open it to the public for tourism. There are also plans to hold events at the mill site, making it a center for culture and community in the town that sprang up around it.

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