You can see the historic Peirce Mill (2401 Tilden Street NW) in action only five more times this season. The mill will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays in September and October – and on one special Sunday. And it’s always free to visit.
Milling days feature demonstrations and the following tours:
History Tour: Feeding a Growing City, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
After the American Revolution Washington County (where Peirce Mill was located) became part of an expanding grain growing region needed to support Washington City. When Isaac Peirce expanded his property along Rock Creek (Peirce gristmill opened in 1828) he became part of the transition from agrarian to industrial American. On this tour you will learn the importance of the Peirce family and inventor Oliver Evans in feeding a growing city.
For kids: Nature Crafts at Peirce Barn, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (ages 3 and up)
We will have all kinds of natural and crafty materials on hand-feathers and
sticks, twine and clay, beads and pipe cleaners. Bring your imagination,
find inspiration in beautiful Rock Creek Park, and make something with your
own two hands!
Family Tour: Gravity, Gears and Grain, 11 a.m. and noon (ages 4 and up)
How does water move the grinding stones? Why was the mill built with 4 floors? During this hands-on tour you will learn why Peirce Mill is located near Rock Creek. You will experience the difference between grinding corn by hand using a mortar and pestle and the use of large grinding stones. You’ll watch as gravity and gears move the waterwheel and the grinding stone to turn corn into cornmeal.
For Kids: Traditional Toys and Games at Peirce Barn, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (ages 3 and up)
Back when Peirce Mill was built, children often made their own toys from
things they could find in the woods, at home, or around the farm. We’ll
bring a modern twist to this tradition by making toys and games from natural
and recycled materials.
Sunday, September 27th: Celebrate the 125th Anniversary of Rock Creek
Peirce Mill will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. And the National Park Service is celebrating Rock Creek Park Day with events at the Rock Creek Nature Center from 11 to 3 p.m. Join NPS and partners for pony rides, hikes, tips on
gardening, games, food, music and more. Here’s the schedule.
October 10th, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Heritage Day Tour: The Rise and Fall of Peirce Plantation
We all recognize the names Rockefeller, Kennedy and Mellon but to those living in 19thcentury Washington the Peirces, Shoemakers and Carberys were also well-known local squires due to their landholdings and social prominence. During this tour you will see all of the existing buildings that were part of the Pierce Plantation, which in addition to the mill includes the springhouse, still house, “Cloverdale” family residence, and carriage house. You’ll hear the story of the Peirce/Shoemaker clan’s Quaker roots, their transformation into Southern slaveholders, and the family’s continued business presence in today’s Washington area. The tour will be conducted by Steve Dryden, author of Peirce Mill: Two Hundred Years in the Nation’s Capital.
October 24th, location and time TBD
History Lecture and Tour: Oliver Evans: Visionary Inventor and Engineer
Evans (1755-1819) was a visionary who produced designs and ideas that radically changed flour milling at a time when flour production was a major industry in Washington. Evans design for integrated milling was adopted by Thomas Jefferson at Shadwell and George Washington at Mt. Vernon. Jefferson is reported to have paid $90 for the use of Evans milling process (patent #3 granted 1790 and signed by both Washington and Jefferson). We’ll visit Peirce Mill to see the 5 Evans inventions/improvements that changed milling forever.
On the above dates and more, the mill and information center are open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Plan your visit at nps.gov/pimi.