June 28, 2019

Preservation Personals: Restore This 18th-Century Maryland Mill

  • By: Emma Sarappo
The exterior of the historic grist mill as seen in 2018.

photo by: MarthaWaddell58 / Wikimedia Commons CC-SA 4.0

My exterior as seen in 2018.

If you’ve ever wanted to restore a historic structure, you might be my perfect match. I was built as a grist mill, but if you're willing to put in the work to save me, I could become your dream home. I’ve been standing on this patch of Maryland, three miles east of Hagerstown, since 1771. My original owner, Jacob Rohrer, marked the date stone on my east gable with that year and his initials when he finally finished building me.

It’s no wonder he was so proud: I’m tall, with three stories made out of fieldstone; stunning stone arches framed the channel of flowing water that powered me. Rohrer kept me in the family until 1818, until my first sale. For a few decades, I changed hands—and parts—frequently; in the 1840s, my original mill wheel was replaced by a turbine. When Joseph Trovinger bought me in 1875, I got the name I'm now known by: Trovinger Mill. I was a shining symbol of early development and industrial commerce in Washington County, and few of the other local mills or buildings have survived as long as I have.

But although I’m a fighter who’s persisted for centuries, the years have left me in bad shape. I have tree damage on my roof and gables, and there’s mill equipment scattered about inside of me. When I was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, I was vacant and deteriorating; today, the situation is tough. What I need is a buyer who’s willing to put in the work to turn me into a pillar of the community once more. In return, I can offer five beautiful acres, a salvageable stone structure, and almost 250 years of rich history.

Ready to get started? See my listing here. If you want something that’s already been restored, see our other historic real estate listings here.

The damage inside the Trovinger mill.

photo by: Cheryl Anderson

Inside, there's a lot of work to be done, but my stone structure is salvageable.

The side of the Trovinger Mill in Maryland.

photo by: Google Maps

I sit on the Antietam Creek, the perfect location for an 18th-century water-powered mill.

Emma Sarappo is a former Editorial Intern at the National Trust. She can be found writing or in the kitchen of her century-old DC rowhouse.

Join us for PastForward, the historic preservation event of the year, October 10-12 in Denver, Colorado. Register online by October 4!

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