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Wade's Mill, Raphine

#66 of 215 in Shopping in Virginia
Historic Site · Hidden Gem · Landmark
Wade's Mill (originally the Kennedy-Wade Mill) is the oldest, continuously operating commercial grist mill in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.

The mill was built c. 1750 by Captain Joseph Kennedy, a Scots-Irishman from County Antrim, Northern Ireland, who emigrated to American in 1733. Captain Kennedy was one of the earlier settlers of Rockbridge County.

The Kennedy family owned and operated the mill for over 100 years. In 1882, James F. Wade purchased the mill, and four generations of the Wade family operated the mill for over a century. Jim and Georgie Young purchased the mill in 1991, undertook a careful restoration, and operated it for the next 25 years.

In July 2016, John and Karen Siegfried purchased the mill and are happy to be carrying on Wade's Mill's 267-year milling tradition.

Wade’s Mill is one of the few remaining mills producing a variety of flours exclusively on mill stones. The three-story mill is powered by a 21-foot iron water wheel fed by nearby Otts Creek, and the interior and workings are similar to when it was taken over by James Wade in 1882.

Milling was one of the earliest industries to develop in the Shenandoah Valley. By the late 18th century, “custom” mills were scattered throughout the countryside, grinding grain individually for local farmers, and usually operating around the harvest season. The miller kept a portion of the flour, the “miller’s toll”, as payment.

In the 19th century, “merchant” or commercial milling operations became more common as the Valley farmers began to grow increasing amounts of wheat. A merchant mill would purchase grain from farmers and grain dealers and grind it for profit.

By the eve of the Civil War, the Shenandoah Valley was recognized as the “breadbasket of the Confederacy”, one of the most prosperous agricultural counties in the nation.

We produce fresh, whole grain, stone ground grits and stone ground flours, without preservatives. We also use these freshly ground products in a variety of mixes for waffles, pancakes, buckwheat pound cake, biscuits, scones, spoonbread, cornbread, hushpuppies and a variety of craft breads.

Our flours, grits and polenta are sold in 1 lb., 2 lb. and 5 lb. sizes for retail, with larger sizes available for commercial customers. Mixes are available in 1 lb. and 2 lb. packages.

We also offer Wade’s Mill Preserves from local berries and fruits and Wade’s Mill Maple Syrup. We stock a variety of locally-sourced products in our Mill Shop, such as Whistle Creek Apiary Honey.

During the holidays, we have an assortment of gift boxes available. We are also happy to create custom gift boxes throughout the year.
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42 reviews
  • This was one of the best stops we made in a day of seeing the sights around Raphine. We were greeted by the owner of the mill and given a very interesting description of how the mill operates and the....  more »
  • Seeing a "commercial" water powered mill in continuous operation since , if I remember correctly, 1720. The mill owner/operator was so friendly and full of information. You also get to see...  more »
  • Wonderful owners and a beautiful piece of working history. Took my family today and the owners gave us a tour and let my 5 year old help with the start up of the mill. Had great local products in gift shop. A must see if your in the area!
  • Great place. Met the owner John and he gave us a private tour of the place including all the background. It's a wonderfully old business that remains relevant today. Lots of great stone-ground products you can buy right there. There are starting to work with chefs and restaurants across the region. Support this business, it definitely worth keeping this tradition going. Beautiful setting too!!!

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