UNION MILLS — The Union Mills Homestead will soon be able to do a comprehensive repair of its leaking Shriver Grist Mill flume with a grant from the Maryland Historical Trust.
The $96,000 grant was officially awarded to the homestead at a meeting in Easton Tuesday afternoon under the Historic Preservation Capital Grant program. Both the homestead and the Board of Carroll County Commissioners worked on the grant, as the county owns the Union Mills property.
“The flume is the wooden frame that delivers water from the mill race to the mill's waterwheel, which in turn powers the interior workings of the mill,” said Sam Riley, president of the Union Mill Homestead Board of Governors.
“Due to presence of water in the flume for much of the year, it — and other wooden portions of the mill drivetrain that are in contact with the waters of the mill race — requires periodic maintenance and eventual replacement,” he explained.
“The current flume is approaching the end of its useful life,” Riley said, “and requires rehabilitation in order to keep the historic mill operational.”
The county has also made a substantial commitment to the project in its capital budget, he said.
“I am thrilled and extremely grateful to receive this grant from Gov. Hogan’s Maryland Historical Trust on behalf of the Union Mills Homestead,” Executive Director Jane Sewell said Tuesday. “We receive tremendous support from Carroll County, and this project will ensure the long-term preservation of this unique historic resource and will advance the public’s understanding of Maryland’s significant industrial heritage.”
The grist mill is nationally significant as a working Oliver Evans mill. The grist mill was the centerpiece of the crossroads early industrial complex at the site and is representative of mills that spearheaded the industrial revolution. Because the mill’s waterwheel was built according to the late 1700s inventor’s plan — milling flour through water wheels — it must be “done to exacting historical standards,” Riley explained.
“The design of the mill is really a STEM project,” he said, referencing the more recent Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum in education circles . “And there are significant costs associated with this whole project because it’s not just a quick and easy rehab.
“The award under the Capital Grant Program and the county’s continuing support will ensure the Shriver Grist Mill is available for generations to come for the interpretation of Carroll County’s early industrial history.”