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Museum of the Confederacy - Carnifix CabinBrightwell's Mill

Brightwell's Mill is a 100% water powered grist mill that used to grind corn meal and flour. In its last years of operation ( late 70'-80's) the mill mostly ground feed for chickens and livestock. All during this time it has been a gathering place for farmers, friends, and neighbors.

Amherst County court records reveal a grist mill and sawmill on Stovall Creek (aka Beck Creek) as early as 1826. On may 1920, Harmon L. & Lessie Mays Brightwell purchased the mill. For the next twenty two years the Brightwell family operated the mill. On Friday august 14, 1942, a flash flood breached the wooden and earthen dam and swept the mill from its foundation down beck creek. Everything was destroyed except the side-wheel waterwheel and the millstones.

The present day dam and mill was built by Mr. Brightwell, his four sons, friends, and neighbors. By July 1943 the mill was back in business.

Today the Brightwell family have taken on the project to restore the mill - or maybe better said to save the mill. The mill is in need of urgent repair. The foundation is still strong; however structural support timbers and flooring have deteriorated and have to be replaced.

For additional info see: http://www2.neweraprogress.com/news/2014/mar/07/4/historic-amherst-county-mill-getting-new-life-ar-1746774/

Also on Facebook, a 'Brightwell's Mill Restoration' page that has many pictures and tells of the progress being made.


January, 2012, Brightwell's Mill was in disrepair, almost to the point of falling in. This Amherst County, VA landmark needed immediate attention or it would be lost forever. Pat & Chris Woody @ Woody Wood Chinking was recommended to take on this endeavor to save this water powered grist mill. They both, having a passion for historic structures worked diligently. Specializing in log cabins, this, their first challenge with a mill, required research and many, many photos along the way. In a very cautious and safe approach, the old rotted out structure timbers, floor joist, subflooring, finished flooring and walls were meticulously removed and replaced. The water wheel support timbers and the timbers supporting the wooden teeth gears that turned the grindstones were also replaced.

On many occasions I joined in on the adventure and became a laborer. I found out these guys were having fun, even though it was a lot of hard work. Extremely cold in the winter and hot in the summer didn't deter them from getting the job done.

As the water wheel turns again and we reflect back on all that has been accomplished, it has been a pleasure working with Pat and Chris Woody. We highly recommend Woody Woody Chinking and invite you to come visit Brightwell's Mill Restoration and see for yourself how talented these guys are.

Ricky Brightwell and Family,

Brightwell's Mill

684 Brightwell's Mill Road

Madison Heights, VA 24572
 


Additional pictures of the restoration work being performed (click each picture to view an enlarged version)

These pictures demonstrate work revolving around the grindstones

These pictures demonstrate work revolving around the water wheel

These pictures demonstrate work revolving around beam replacement

These pictures demonstrate the interior deterioration

The raising of the mill stones

Floor removal

 

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