Our long range goal of demonstrating the grinding of grain has been achieved.
On Thursday, June 17, 2010, the volunteers met to turn on the power and fine tune the
motorized ‘Pony Stone.’
Gordie Shantz, Larry Martin, and Harry Brunk did the stone dressing, mounted the motor and gear box, provided custom made parts, and assembled the system. Wilmer Hertzler, a descendent of Abraham Breneman, installed the wiring, electrical controls, etc. Broadway Metal contributed the motor and gearbox, which are mounted out of sight below the floor.
Pictured above, on the left is Gordie Shantz, who engineered design and installation, pouring in one of the first scoops of corn. Watching is Wilmer Hertzler, who designed and installed the electrical system and electronic controls.
On Friday, June 18, 2010, the Mill Committee met at the Mill for their planning work and tried out the grinding process.
Becky Messerley, a local community member of the Mill Committeee, is pictured here with a scoop of corn to be poured into the hopper for grinding.
A new era of showing the Mill to visitors started almost immediately. On Saturday, June 19, 2010, John Martin and Reta Lehman brought their respective family reunion groups, who are Breneman descendents, to the Mill for tours. They also participated in grinding corn on the old burr stones, which we are told date back to their ancestor Abraham, who built the mill in ca. 1800.
Historic Bridge Work
The original Brenneman Church Road came around the east and north sides of the Mill until the early 1970’s when the Virginia Highway Dept. built a new section on the west side of the Mill. The old gravel road passed over the trace/tail race of the Mill. Two stone walls lined the sides of the tail race under the roadway. At each side of the roadway where the water passed under, one could see large logs across the waterway resting on the walls. We often wondered when it was built and what type trees would last that long.
Early in 2010 a heavy snow fall followed by rain washed out much of the gravel and created a small pond in the road over the tail race. In the next several days two sink holes appeared as dirt and gravel were washed into the tail race. Excavation revealed that the logs were only used at the ends and appeared to be added to widen the road at a later time. The center consisted of large flat lime stones laid on the walls of the tail race. Other stones were laid over the cracks and then covered with clay. We discovered that the largest stone, measuring approximately 6 x 8 feet, had broken just inside the south wall, allowing the roadway above to wash into the tail race.
Photo at right: First log and stones over tail race with debris in the waterway. These pictures show the scene before and after it was partially opened, and the unique structure. We consulted with James Madison University historical and archeological personnel regarding the value of this discovery and how to preserve it.
For additional pictures of the volunteers removing the material above and under the flat stones, click on the Photo Album at the end of this section.
Photos below: Sink hole in the roadway. Photo below right: Large stones held up the roadway above tail race.
To preserve the historic bridge but provide access to other properties beyond
the old bridge special renovations were required. A concrete pier was constructed in the tail race to support the broken stone. A walking bridge was built for visitors to see the unique bridge, and cross over the tail race to see the water wheel.
Also a vehicle bridge is being constructed at the far side. See pictures below of the crane moving the 6,300 lb broken stone back into place, a view of the restored stone bridge, the wooden walking bridge, and the concrete abutments
for the vehicle bridge. Richard Martin photos.