Peirce Mill’s 2016 Heritage Day festival is Saturday, October 8th. This free event, at the restored mill at Tilden Street and Beach Drive, will include milling demonstrations, activities for children, live bluegrass music and a presentation on Latino bread-making culture. Read about a similar 2014 event at the mill.
Friends of Peirce Mill is a crucial partner of the National Park Service, in programming events like these and in funding the restoration of the mill. In addition, the group regularly treats its members to exclusive events like the September 10th hard cider tasting. If you join, you can join them for the next one!
Peirce Mill volunteer and historian Nathan Marzoli writes here about the most recent event.
Despite the summer-like heat, visitors to historic Peirce Mill in Rock Creek Park were treated to the tastes of autumn and winter on Saturday, September 10.
Amidst incredible examples of 19 century technology that were once used to turn corn and wheat into flour, the Friends of Peirce Mill treated 42 of its members to a tasting of various hard ciders from local cider makers. These ciders, which included a variety of traditional American cider styles, were from Bold Rock Cidery in Nellysford, Virginia; Eve’s Cidery in Van Etten, New York and Distillery Lane Ciderworks in Jefferson, Maryland.
In an effort to tie in the event to important themes in American history, volunteer and historian Nathan Marzoli provided a presentation and lecture about the history of cider and alcohol in early America, as well as traditional cider-making practices.
Hard cider was an important part of American history, as it was ubiquitous in the colonial culture and that of the early Republic period. People of all ages, children included, consumed cider as the beverage (not just alcoholic) of choice for well into the 19th century.
The Friends of Peirce Mill, a non-profit institution that works to “restore, preserve, and maintain” the 19th century mill in a partnership with the National Park Service “to promote educational and recreational experiences for all generations,” hosted this event in an effort to bring the structure’s history to life for members. Peirce Mill was a key part of the farm and estate of Isaac Peirce, a former Quaker from Pennsylvania who purchased the lot on which the mill now sits in 1794.
Peirce did not just make flour at the mill; he also grew apple orchards on the hills surrounding Rock Creek that were probably used to make hard cider and other apple-based liquors. The stone building across Tilden Street from Peirce Mill, now a private residence, was also supposedly used as the plantation’s distillery.
The Friends of Peirce Mill and the National Park Service are currently in the process of restoring some of Peirce’s old apple orchards on the hill behind the mill. Hopefully someday in the near future the Friends will be able to sample cider that was made from their own apples, in the same location that Isaac Peirce grew his.
For more information on ways you can support and enjoy Peirce Mill, visit FriendsofPeirceMill.org.